‘Leadership’ is all the rage. Many seminaries offer programs that boast courses on ‘leadership development’ and such. Many books on leadership I’ve seen are based on secular business methods. The problem is, what are pastors/priests? Are we religious CEOs or something else? Are we the ‘non-anxious presence’ of systems theory?
Two books on my shelf are bucking this trend. The first (which I have read twice) is Empowered Church Leadership by Brian J. Dodd, and the second (which I am currently reading) is called Soul Mending by Fr. John Chryssavgis.
Dodd is a evangelical church-plant type and Chryssavgis is an Orthodox priest. Dodd uses the apostle Paul as his model of leadership and Chryssavgis the desert fathers. Both point to ‘charisamtic leadership,’ but not in the sense of slick and ‘crowd pleasing.’ They speak of charismatic leaders who are filled with the Holy Spirit and the presence of Jesus. Leaders who are followed and even obeyed, not because they are gifted ‘people persons’ but because they are gifted by the Spirit of God. As one father of the desert put it, ‘Obedience responds to obedience, and not to authority.’