Saturday, July 28, 2007

Out of the Vault: What is Leadership?

We've been percolating recently about the topic of leadership. There are many who assert their authority over others - both those with whom we agree and those with whom we disagree. But how do we - clergy and laity alike - discern authentic leadership? We've been reading statements and letters from those in leadership - but being in leadership, is that enough to make one a leader?

It's a hard thing sometimes to realize that there is still grief over the division in the Episcopal Church. There is on one hand a desire to just "move on" or "get on with it" (as Bishop Lee once said), waving a hand in farewell as we slip off into the sunset. Over and over we hear from "leaders" that it's no loss to them that the laity or clergy go somewhere else (where ever "somewhere else" might be), that's not what is truly valued, truly esteemed. Is that leadership?

Others pour over regulations and stipulations of single-minded authority to justify decisions made, writing directives, even as more hearts break and more slip away.

We look to the east to castles and kings and find so many small words of little significance. Where is the voice crying out of the wilderness, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord!"

When they do cry out, do we hear them?

We're reminded of a song we used to sing in the old days,

I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard my people cry.
All who dwell in dark and sin,
My hand will save.

I, who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear my light to them?
Whom shall I send?

I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have borne my people’s pain.
I have wept for love of them.
They turn away.

I will break their hearts of stone,
Give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak my words to them.
Whom shall I send?

I, the Lord of wind and flame,
I will send the poor and lame.
I will set a feast for them.
My hand will save.

Finest bread I will provide,
'Til their hearts be satisfied.
I will give my life to them.
Whom shall I send?

Last night we took a look inside the BabyBlueVaults - blowing away the dust and found a small gem from nearly twenty years ago.

A lot has happened since this sermon was preached and we realize we haven't heard this type of preaching for a long time, a very long time.

It is worth pondering again, worth considering - as we prepare for September 30th and beyond. One of the principles mentioned in this sermon is to start small, not go for the big deal but start with what you have, with where you are. Waiting for Lambeth is not leadership - but waiting on the Lord is. Quoting rules and regulations and sparking fear is not leadership, standing joyfully in the fire is. And as we are reminded in this teaching, we are not called to know everything in the future, or to wait until we know all (or at least a lot more and assure our future security) before we take steps forward. We go with what we are shown now, trusting in the Lord we move forward in faith - even if it is towards the fire.

1. Begin small
2. Trust God for the vision
3. Money is secondary
4. Everything under God depends on the quality of the persons selected for the task

Click > above for the podcast or download from iTunes (BabyBlueOnline Podcast).

NOTE: The audio tape of the sermon in this podcast is nearly twenty years old and a bit worn by the years. But the message, perhaps forgotten, still comes through. What say you?


Kevin said...

A leader is who leads.

There are many with title of expressed leadership, yet they may not be leaders. The last PB had title but tried to be everyone's best friend that he failed to lead, the current PB may not be a very godly leader but she is a leader and fix TEC's course to "spiritual violence" as she wages reconciliation to bring about ideology that does not exactly line up with God's Word, but she has both the title & the ability to lead others to her vision of best course.

As to the other, you made your decision on 12/17/06, Truro decided option 3 not 2 as presented in the 40 Days.

Sept. 30 means very little in AMiA, they made decision after GC 2000 and after formation there was a desire for recognition but +++Carey declined, so today's mission to 130 Million is the main focus, whether it's partnering with CHB to do an Alpha like thingie in Congress or urban outreach. This last month was filled two groups to a short term mission and our "baby" church plant, etc., etc., etc.

There seems to be a real double mindedness that I don't think is healthy. There are many ironic parallels in my walk and CANA relationship to TEC, yet I've had more instruction to shake dust off my feet. There are a few areas I think is a ties that I'm in prayer if I should cut, I'm still on everyone's email (one being very odd) which does not help the grief to dust off feet ... a few of the items said in Borders or posted that I'd urge a heart check for your sanity, I know when I play in those areas I end up giving a foothold.


Unknown said...

AMiA is in Common Cause and will be participating in the major meeting in September called by Bob Duncan after the House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans. Yes, September 30th has major implications for AMiA as well since they - along with CANA - are in the Primates Communique. This is a time to pray, especially for our leaders as that meeting approaches. AMiA, CANA, the ICON churches, the Network Dioceses and the Windsor bishops - this is a major meeting and one to pray for, including for Chuck Murphy and Elis and Cynthia Brust - the Brusts are dear friends. We're all in this together. May God be glorified through the storm.


Kevin said...

The LORD will be glorified regardless, it more a matter if we get to share in the victory or another generation.

I think other many Common Cause partners see things VERY differently than CANA, maybe ICON see similar, but when standing for Truth without help, even critism, it does bring a fortitude that's concerns are different. REC forged the longest, but Continuing Churches do not seem to have the same sense of urgency of Sept. 30.

My comments are actually posts here, a comment last week in borders and on T19, together brings concern. I can appreciate DioVA is making this hard sending bishops to talk to TEC-loyal congregations. However there been an edge recently ...


Unknown said...


Did you mean to leave out the song's chorus?

Here I am Lord,
Is it I, Lord,
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if you lead me,
I will hold your people in my heart.

Haven't posted here before but have been following the site for awhile & enjoying it.