Courage As Citizens.

PETERROLLINS.NET

From Mark Riddle
from the Facebook group Youth Ministry 3.0

We can’t talk about changing the youth pastors role and the expectations associated with her/him, without talking about role of the individuals within the community.

A couple thoughts from Peter Block in his book Community that I think will be helpful. (Peter’s a consult for businesses and as far as I know is not a believer. I say this because I’m fascinated by a business guy who writes a book named “community”.)

He’s language is citizen. and the goal or him is citizenship. (If you’d prefer you can exchange it for disciple)

A citizen is one who is willing to do the following:
+ Hold oneself accountable for the well-being of the larger collective of which we are a part.
+Choose to own and excercise power rather than defer or delegate it to others.
+Enter into a collective possibility that gives hospitable and restorative community its sense of being.
+Acknowledge that community grows out of the possibility of citizens. Community is build not by specialized expertise, or great leadership, or improved services; it is built by citizens.
+Attend to the gifts and capacities of all others, and act to bring the gifts of those on the margin into the center.
(Peter Block, Community page 65)

This is going to take some time to process frankly, but our goal would be to function as pastor who enables an environment in which citizens (disciples) can happen.

+ Hold oneself accountable for the well-being of the larger collective of which we are a part.”

Here’s my take on what this means.

It means that you and I stop talking about people outside the room and their need for change, and focus more on ourselves and what we can change.

It means that our staff meetings (or DS meetings) are ripe with owning our own contribution to the problem we have identified.
By doing so it allows us to actually change things.
When we focus on other members of the community and their need to change, so we can do what we need to do, then we begin to play the victim and decision making power leaves our hands. We become stuck, and victims.

This is why I think the future of leadership is about convening conversations, because by doing so we are able to talk about us, and the extend to which we own our stuff. Or to the extend to which we don’t own our stuff. This must be equally important. We must give people permission to say no to things, otherwise when they say yes it means nothing.

So. Talking about ourselves is the starting point. Convening conversations is the next.

First is means that we deglamorize leadership. It means that we stop pretending or playing with perceptions. It means we are who we are and that by doing so we are a gift to our communities. (in more than one way)

Edwin Friedman says it this way. “Leadership can be thought of as a capacity to define oneself to other in a way that clarifies and expands a vision of the future.”

Second I think it means that we redefine success along the way.
Modern leadership defines success as:
-a large number of people involved
-that large number of people are happy
-People fill slots the leader needs filled
-that large number of people are filling the slots.

What if success isn’t about how many people are involved, but how many people are engaged. Engagement doesn’t simply come from participation in a leaders program or vision. I can participate, but never be engaged. Too few churches measure this way.

For instance, Parents come to your parents meeting, they listen to you talk about the vision for youth ministry, they ask some questions. They give a few comments. they leave.
Are they engaged?

Youth workers come to a youth program and do pretty much what you ask them to do. Week in and week out. Is that engagement?

Engagement is when people begin to become citizens.
Engagement is the point.

Why do I post these things? Because Mark Riddle is great – his new book will be great, he’s on the sidebar and you should check him out.

Telling The Truth Requires Courage
Some people trade in loyalty. If you decide not to trade in loyalty – you must be courageous. There is no place as lonely as the fringes, as cold or as echoey. Sometimes, citizens who trade in truth instead of loyalty find themselves strangers in their own land. It’s the loneliest place sometimes. It was neither right nor wrong that led you here – it’s the road that forks. A sad road, but not a wrong road.

The Bravest Things Leaders Do

+ Hold oneself accountable for the well-being of the larger collective of which we are a part. Here’s my take on what this means.

It means that you and I stop talking about people outside the room and their need for change, and focus more on ourselves and what we can change.

It means that our staff meetings (or DS meetings) are ripe with owning our own contribution to the problem we have identified.
By doing so it allows us to actually change things.
When we focus on other members of the community and their need to change, so we can do what we need to do, then we begin to play the victim and decision making power leaves our hands. We become stuck, and victims.

This is why I think the future of leadership is about convening conversations, because by doing so we are able to talk about us, and the extend to which we own our stuff. Or to the extend to which we don’t own our stuff. This must be equally important. We must give people permission to say no to things, otherwise when they say yes it means nothing.

The bravest thing is not to blame, but to take responsibility. Proverbs speak about the power of kings to cover over, and to uncover. The discretion and responsibility of leadership is to choose which things to make public and which things to not.

One of the most difficult challenges in professional church staffing, is what to do when staff members aren’t performing the way we would like = or how we need them to. I like what this quote in particular says, because it walks the line.

On one side = we pursue honesty, responsibility, accountability and truthtelling.
On another side = we pursue grace, growth, trust, learning, environment and Truthtelling.

The difference between truthtelling and Truthtelling is that one is small t, the other large T. Large T says that the ministry of all is valid in some way. I think most of the time, those who are deemed unsuccessful in ministry are those who denied or were denied professional development. Those who found themselves in the wrong kind of environments, or became toxic for any number of reasons. Or they made genuine mistakes. But within it all, is genuine ministry & value. Genuine God stories. Genuine God Love & Truth at work in a life that is as important as ours. (When it’s not these things.. it’s a different topic).

Truthtelling with small t only works when it’s hand in hand with big T Truthtelling. The truth content of small t is still important and valid – but must be held in isolation. And we must learn (all of us) to take personal responsibility for when we do not argue, do not wrestle, do not resist the action or inaction of those we would blame for the failings of our ministry. Because when we did not take personal resp

onsibility and we place the blame for that on others… how ungraceful is our clanging bell of love, in a hollow voice.

A good friend, mentor and advisor today reminded me, that despite the pain of our experiences, the wise take joy in the goodness that God brings despite the storm, even if we do not see and only perceive of that goodness. It is our bittersweet joy to know that things have not been without redeemption, even if it was not it’s purpose.

What do you think?