Yesterday I was watching my twitter feed, and Steve Heyduck posted something that grabbed my attention. I had a gut reaction, and I failed to complete the thought in 140 characters, and digest the conversation with any real strength.
It started like this:
: For the UMC to take seriously raising up young leaders, we who are 45+ will have to be willing to get out of the way. #umc
: @steveheyduck getting out of the way only helps if you are identifying and guiding to that point #umyc #umc
I don't want our leaders now to get out of the way to take seriously raising up young leaders. To me that sounds an awful lot like "In order for our children to grow up we need to die." Now, I realize that statement may be overdramatizing the issue, but I have seen it acted out that way.
It may be that Steve means "get out of the way" in the sense of providing actual leadership opportunities, with real responsibility, and accountability for failure, accolades for achievement, and listening to our ideas as we begin to think out new plans for the future. I hope that is it.
After watching some more of the extended dialogue (durn it there are not threaded feeds on Twitter - a la Facebook and Gmail) Mike Lindstrom
responded with some of these thoughts.
Which was in reference to some of these comments
But, getting out of the way too early is dangerous and leads to death for all. Now, I will admit I am right at the edge of Young Adults by definition of clergy standards at 35. I admit I was frustrated at times as an assistant youth leader, and as an associate pastor with being "held down" by the heirarchy of the church. Sometimes, that was saving my hindquarters from getting in some real trouble. At other times I think we missed some opportunities with our families, youth, and congregations.
I am grateful for those who said "What's the worst that can happen - we fail? All we can do is try it and see." From those statements followed the pieces that said, "Here are some things you may want to think about, and some tools I think you will need to make it succeed." If I chose to use other tools then so be it. If I thought about what was given all the better. If I decided a tool wasn't necessary and the truth was otherwise, I was usually given the opportunity to learn it for myself; when risk was too high, I was told to use that tool regardless. I was grateful for each of these.
These days I have no hierarchy to hold me back, but I do have people to whom I am responsible. The choices I make are my own, and I realize that I have an entire congregation that has its own expectations of what I am going to be. I try to honor those, as well as be myself, hold conversation as we go forward.
I wonder what it will look like to allow the current people to be themselves, as well as inviting new people into the conversation, as United Methodists, as Clergy, and as a changing nation and world. Can we provide enough leadership that those who will have to lead next will have some idea of what good leadership is, and how to enact it, or are we just turning over the reigns to the cart horse to a four year old raised in a car society?
Labels: Church Politics, Community Discourse, Congregational Care, Discipleship, Emerging Church, Visioning