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Monday, October 17, 2005

Conflit? Ask Ken: Is the Biblical Concept of Servant Leadership Really Practiced Your Church? (Part 2)?

In part one, we examined the Biblical texts that support the concept of “servant-leadership.”  We also looked at a typical church organizational chart.  It is “top-down.”  In other words, only the leadership component of the servant-leadership model is represented.

One problem with such a model is that the communications in the church are primarily one way, with members on the receiving end.  That is, communication channels from leadership to members are the only ones that are formally established. These include, worship bulletins and inserts, announcements from the pulpit, newsletters, mailings, church website postings, and the like. By contrast, such formal lines of communication from members to leadership are not even close to having the same kind of development or consistency.

Consequently, member's legitimate concerns are not addressed in a timely fashion, or they are not properly processed at all.  Small issues then, have a way of metastasizing undetected until they erupt with an intensity that catches leadership off guard, and then engulfs them.  What is needed is an outline that fully represents the Biblical model.  Take a look at the model below.

Servantleadeshipcomplete

 

DISCUSSION:

Do you think that the above organizational chart fully represents the Biblical model of “servant leadership”?  If not, what should it look like.  If yes, what are some of the ways you have found to make the feedback look from members to servant leaders more concrete?  Personally, I believe that to the extent church leaders create formal lines, not only of communication, but of feedback, the healthier their church will be.  What do you think has to be done in your church, or churches at large, to make this chart a reality?

FOR OTHER ARTICLES BY KEN ON CHURCH CONFLICT... click here

FOR OTHER ARTICLES BY KEN ON "THE NEWBERGER PROJECT... click here

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Unique_help_1  © 2005 Kenneth C. Newberger
Ken Newberger, an experienced church conflict resolution and development specialist, earned his Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, has ten years senior pastoral experience, and is in the dissertation phase for his Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution at Nova Southeastern University, one of only two accredited doctoral programs of its kind in the United States. If your church needs help resolving conflict, if you need individual coaching, or if you would like to develop a communicatively healthy church,  please visit Ken's website  at www.ResolveChurchConflict.com  or call 301-253-8877.

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October 17, 2005 in Church Conflict | Permalink

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Ken,
Your questions were:Do you think that the above organizational chart fully represents the Biblical model of “servant leadership”? If not, what should it look like. If yes, what are some of the ways you have found to make the feedback look from members to servant leaders more concrete? I think it is both. At times the leadership needs to instruct and exhort, and this is more of a top down. But other times we need to serve and the inverted org chart better represents this. In fact, I would lean toward saying this should happen more often. In May, we took a survey from our leadership (committee heads, etc.) on the health of our church. We were puzzled by some of the results, so we selected to members to do follow up interviews. This has been very revealing. We just got the rest of the interviews. My hope is that we will prayerfully and thoughtfully respond in an appropriate and effective manner. Some items will require additional training (what eldership looks like at our church). Others, we need to correct and admit we need to work on some of these areas (handling conflict).

The challenge as I see it is that we consider as much as possible the spectrum of responses. We tend to gravitate to those we most identify with, but as leaders we need to serve the entire congregation.

Personally, I believe that to the extent church leaders create formal lines, not only of communication, but of feedback, the healthier their church will be. What do you think has to be done in your church, or churches at large, to make this chart a reality?

As a follow up to what I just shared, is my intention is to develop greater lines of feedback - perhaps an annual survey of all members. Perhaps chat times with the elders. We have had for years a comment card in the pew. Maybe it is time to remind folks of that.

Bottom line is that as leaders we can slip into the mode of keeping things running and neglecting the servant side of leadership which includes taking time to listen and then respond appropriately.

John

Posted by: John Hanner | Oct 20, 2005 9:27:52 AM

Try this on for size...

Turn the org chart on it's SIDE instead of upside-down! Then the leaders are working ALONGSIDE the "non-leaders."

"I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends..."

Posted by: Peter Hamm | Oct 20, 2005 9:35:19 AM

Peter,
I can certainly live with that. Paul wrote, "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." I think the challenge is that it is hard for us at times (most the time) to humble ourselves, regardless if we are "leaders" in the church or not. In the sense we are all on a journey of maturing in Christ we need to submit to one another.

Ken's discussion point is about communication. And I think his assessment is more correct than not. The "top-down" communication is well developed. We need to get to hear from the body more regularly. I think your point works out well. If we focus more on working side by side rather than position, we will more likely get better communication flowing.

Thanks. John

Posted by: John Hanner | Oct 20, 2005 11:17:05 PM

Put Christ in the center side by side or up and down.

Posted by: kagary | Dec 7, 2005 1:49:00 PM

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