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  • Writer's pictureLES HENSON

Shared Leadership

Updated: Sep 21, 2019

Missional communities encourage shared leadership to provide everyone with a voice. Leadership includes numerous functions and those functions are never found in one person alone. Furthermore, we know from experience that the health of a local faith community and the multiplication of that same community require room for multiple leaders to grow and develop. If mission is to be central to the life of the community and if new faith communities are to be cultivated then new leaders must be developed. God is glorified, and God’s mission advances when groups of believers lock arms together and function as one body to do the work of expanding the church. A humorous example of how not to do this is found in the movie "O Brother Where Art Thou?"

Everett, Delmar, and Pete having broken out of prison and are running alongside a train to catch a ride. A significant impediment lies in the fact that they are all chained together. Everett, the self-appointed leader, climbs up into the boxcar first, followed by Delmar, and encounters several hobos. Rather than concern himself with getting Pete on the train, he asks the hobos, "Any of you boys smithies?" He is concerned with himself, seeking to free himself from his chains. However, in his preoccupation with his own need, he neglected to help Pete on the train. Consequently, Pete falls while running alongside the train. Of course, the result is that both Everett and Delmar are yanked off the train and end up on the ground alongside Pete, and in the process, they all miss the train.

Unless we are willing to work together with others in seeing God’s mission fulfilled, and are prepared lay aside our concerns and hesitations, we can so easily be yanked off God’s missional train, taking others with us and hinder God’s work in the process. The role of missional leaders is not to do all the work themselves. But to lead by example and encourage the entire body to participate in what God is doing in the world.

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