I have been reading a book called “Relational Leadership : A Biblical Model for influence and service.” By Walter C. Wright. It’s a book that has taken me over 12 months to read, and is one that I enjoyed reading and will go back and read again. Some of the highlights come from its Biblical foundation in building teams. Operating in grace, mercy and forgiveness and the need to press into God when we are faced with something bigger than ourselves.
The author draws on much of his own experience in being a president of Regent Bible College and his current position as CEO at the Max De Pre Leadership Center. I like the conversational style of the book, where he keeps technical advice to a bare minimum to where its absolutely needed. I truly believe that anyone in a leadership position will benefit greatly from this book. Throughout the book, he highlights the fact that everyone has a leadership role somewhere in life.
One of the things I am really struggling with in this book, and this goes with all leadership books I am reading, is that it tends to place the role of leadership within the framework of the individual. The pastor leads the church. The CEO leads the organisation. An individual leads a bible study group etc.
There is one area of church life that really presses my buttons. I gets me rankled. It makes me climb up onto my soap box and cry out…nooooo! And that is the issue of senior pastor of a church. Or that of an individual leading the church. No where in the Scriptures can I find the terminology of senior pastor. Nor can I find the example of one person being in charge of the church.
Instead, I see an eldership driven model where leadership is a shared responsibility. But, the elders are servant shepherds called to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry. I’m heartened and encouraged to say that there are a number of other more highly qualified people throughout the world, who agree with me on this issue, and who are strongly promoting it.
After reading this book I am left with the question, if we really want to see our churches change to this model, and we really believe this is the model our churches are to emulate -should our bible colleges also emulate this model of mutual leadership? Instead of having a title of CEO or a Principal – should instead those titles be changed to Elder? Indeed is it at all possible for a Bible college or other organisation to operate within a eldership lead model of organisation. What would happen to our churches if indeed those who were being trained, equipped and released for ministry, were done so in an atmosphere where that sort of leadership was modeled?
While there are many strengths to this book and the leadership model it encourages – I am left wanting more. What does mutually submissive leadership look like – What does it look like where the leader isn’t so much an individual – instead, the leadership is a collective group of mutually submissive people, ministering together.