After a very helpful evening with a deeply committed (to the Church, or more accurately to the Gospel) couple this evening I am left with a questions that has dogged me for about 8 of the 10 years i have been in the ordained ministry - what is a leader? My 'style' (if you can call it that) has always been one of 'going with the flow', of supporting those who are doing things, in many ways (though i hate to say it) of 'propping things up'.
I now feel a new phase of my ministry coming up, we are at the stage in many of our fellowships of needing a clear and unequivocal statement of vision and direction. The joy of being in a Team of Clergy is that I can work together with my 'senior partner' (The Team Rector) and my other colleagues in putting this together, but the bottom line is that I am receiving, with some frequency, the calling to 'be a leader'. People actually want me to say what we should be doing in our churches!
Now beyond the belief that we are a priesthood of all believers and that we affirm and embrace 'every member ministry' I am beginning to realise that part of my calling, part of what I believe I am meant to be and to do, is leading the people of God. By that I mean listening to what is being said to me (and to what isn't!) and creating forward movement amongst those to whom I minister. I have what I understand to be a Scriptural basis for the idea of being both 'someone under authority' (to the Church, to Scripture, to the Spirit of God - but not necessarily in that order!) and someone called to exercise authority in the name of Christ and of the Church to those who make up my congregations.
Now the rubber hits the road - I have to do it, i have to pray, to consider, to talk to my colleagues about the issues and the consequences, to grasp the vision and to encourage others to follow.
And it scares the bejiggers out of me!
It's got something to do with the perennial feeling that I am not up to the task, that I am not worthy, and something to do with the fact that I feel strongly that this is the right way to go. The difficulty being that the details need to be worked out, the direction needs some clarity, and that there is a responsibilty to this that sits uncomfortably on my shoulders. I am so glad that none of this is done by me alone, and that God gets a hand in this, hopefully, somewhere.
So if anyone disagrees about the nature of ministry, or wants to offer me some advice, or wants to pray for me - go right ahead.
So much for short posts...