A manager or a leader

Management is about coping with complexity–it is responsive. Leadership is about coping with change–it too is responsive, but mostly it is proactive.*

As a look back on my three years at Princeton, I wonder whether seminary is more apt in creating managers or leaders? And as I begin to look out into the vast job openings within the PC(USA), I see that it is in need of leaders, but will be mostly receiving managers.

“managers manage complexity by planning and budgeting–setting targets or goals for the future. Such planning seeks to produce results that promote order in organizational structures and systems. By contrast, leaders, deal with change, creating it, responding to it, or leading it. Leading organizational change begins with setting a direction and a strategy–developing a vision for thfuture along with accomplishing that vision.”*

I have said it before, it seems as though the focus of our denomination is upon “stopping the bleeding;” hospice care for congregations; maintaining status quo (or in other words managing order), rather than creating vision and change for the future. We are responding to what is around us, rather than proactively creating it.

McManus, in An Unstoppable Force makes an interesting point that the church used to be the creator of culture, but has now either remained rooted in the 1950s (neo-1600s), or tries to catch up to culture. I think about the countless number of Young Life Skits we would create which would mimic MTV shows (i.e. Pimp My Bike). So rather than the church producing a new culture through adaptive, creative change that calls the world forward and towards Jesus Christ, the church (mainline, but not limited to ml) has become a static institution, in need of hospice care, and managers to keep things “decently and in order.”

It is sad if we allow those four words of scripture to freeze the denomination into a ritualistic institution, when one member of the Trinity is a dynamic agent and power of change.

*Robert Banks. Reviewing Leadership.

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