“But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant. ” (Matthew 23:8-11)
Having read many of his books, I can say that Leonard Sweet is my most favorite postmodernist Christian writer. Maybe that’s why I think I have more of a postmodern outlook on life than my peers. I often hear “postmodernism” preached in a negative light in churches, saying inaccurately that it’s all about making truth relative. It’s not. We still have much to learn about and learn from the merits of postmodernism.
One thing we should learn about postmodernism is how it applies to Christian leadership in the emerging church. It’s a large topic, so I offer you the following summarized comparison chart, with some of these items originating from Leonard Sweet’s book “Summoned To Lead”, and some of these from my own observations/research:
|Modern Leadership||Postmodern Leadership|
|How one becomes a leader||Catching a vision of the future and decides to lead people to fulfill that vision||Hearing God’s call to participate with Him in dealing with a present situation|
|Success of leadership||The organizational goals have been achieved and the organization experiences growth||The life of each person in the team has been blessed and enriched and attained greater value|
|Direction of leadership influence||Top-down, one-directional, and authoritative||Side-by-side, multi-directional, relational, and collaborative|
|Recruiting team members||Have a clear job description, then find people who have the right skills and right heart for the job||Set out to grow a “community” of people who are different from each other, and are passionate, creative, and spirited|
|Most important qualities of a leader||A well-respected, learned, and self-assured person with charisma and good public speaking abilities||A person who has integrity, is humble, is a life-long learner, and is good at listening to others|
|How to draft organizational plans/principles||Be as detailed as you can, write down each objective and each sub-point on how to achieve those objective||As simple as possible, stated with optimism and boldness, use metaphors, is easy to take it to heart|
|Dealing with change||Tend to resist change for fear of loss of position or status||Embraces change to help keep in touch with the times|
|How the leader is thought of||He/she is watching “over” the organization||He/she is participating “among” the team/community|
|Motivating team members||Through praises and encouraging words and challenging people to do better||Through being an example, being a friend, valuing others more than yourself, and help people find meaning in what they do|
|An example of a great leader||Martin Luther King – a natural-born leader – “I have a dream”||Frodo – a summoned leader – “I will carry the Ring to Mordor though I do not know the way”|
May we be sensitive and responsive to God’s call.