the condition of Christian leadership today

"Rose and Thorns" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Rose and Thorns” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

[Get a print of this cartoon. All my art FREE SHIPPING with code ‘shipit’.]

Someone has pointed out that you’re not a leader unless someone is following you.

It seems to me that leadership in the church is caught up in celebrity culture.

It seems to me that leadership skills and business success are primary educators for the church today.

It seems to me that Christian communities are learning more from Steve Jobs than Jesus of Nazareth on how to function. Jesus was quite clear on what it means to lead. He was also quite clear on what it meant to function as a healthy community.

It seems.

Tired of being a thorn? Join us at The Lasting Supper! It is beautiful. Seriously.

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24 Responses

  1. Ducatihero says:

    Yeah the one I heard about leadership is that a leader has followers otherwise they are just going for a walk.

    So what do you mean by “church” David – a caricature of every institutionalised gathering as having a leader with adoring fans propping up his pathological sociopathic narcissism? It is funny.

    However is it true for all churches and all leaders in churches. Or is this indicative of the brokenness and sometimes the sickness in society of which the church is part of?

    I don’t doubt that The Lasting Supper is beautiful – for you as the rose there. What may be of interest is – can you take a joke?

    Are you laughing? Does an exchange of banter result in community and belonging? Can you treat others as fellow roses? Or is your emotional reaction to feel threatened by and treat anyone returning banter as a thorn in the flesh – a messenger from Satan?

    One thing’s for sure whatever the rhetoric, whatever the fun and underneath that whomever is being good or evil, whether the fun is used to control or create community, God knows.

    And so bathing in freedom of speech – lovers, free thinkers engaging with powerful mutually edifying dialogue along with haters herding instincts hoping for approval from a leader, on with the dance we go…

  2. Tom Wilson says:

    Ducatihero, I find it interesting how you come in here it seems daily lately with condescending remarks and insults pointed at David. Your remarks tell me that you do not really know him and though I’ve not been a member of the Lasting Supper for while, but it also tells me you have no clue about it either. If any of what you have written about him or the lasting supper were true he would delete your comments and dignify them with a response. He welcomes everyone’s response and often responds to them as he has yours on multiple occasions. However, you continue to come here attempting to bate David into responding with what appears to be the intention to do what what I’ve already addressed above. Just as the vast majority of religious and other institutions attempt to do with victims of abuse by leaders you are attempting to shame David into shutting up, behaving, or going away. None of which if you are a Christian is any of the Characteristics of the whom you claim to follow. As has been pointed out previously your true colors are showing.

  3. I did feel baited but I didn’t take it. šŸ™‚

  4. Tom Wilson says:

    Ooops! I did spell bait incorrectly didn’t I. I often write faster than my brain works.LOL

  5. Bill Kinnon says:

    Tom,
    I wait with baited breath for David ‘s response, whence I shall remove the worm from my tongue. šŸ™‚

  6. Bridget says:

    Tom Wilson –

    Thanks for saying what was noticeable here and elsewhere (to me anyway). I thought it was just me. Disclaimer – I’m newer here, rarely, comment, and have not been to Lasting Supper.

    Ducatihero –

    There are a host of assumptions in your comment.

  7. Lydia says:

    I have no clue what Ducatihero’s comment above actually meant to communicate in content but it sure is creepy.

  8. It feels like a kiss and a slap at the same time.

  9. Curtis says:

    A healthy leader / follower relationship is just that, a close, personal, ongoing relationship, as exemplified by Jesus, where the leader knows the follower personally and listens and teaches on a personal level. Celebrity pastors are incapable of this, of course. The number of followers is too large — tens of thousands — and the communication media used — books, blogs & conference speeches — are one-way and don’t allow for any real relationship between the leader and the follower.

    In this perverted form of leadership, there is no care for the individual follower. In its place is the crafting of a message that will appeal to the largest numbers while offending the least possible, and silencing of all critics and dissenters. It is leadership driven by profit, rather than leadership driven by relationship. Jesus would turn over the tables at the sight of it.

  10. Ducatihero says:

    It is amusing Tom how you have responded. Your herding instinct and desire for approval of a leader maybe?

    David – yup you were right to feel baited and not take it. I honour your mature response (and this is a compliment not sarcasm). I felt discouraged at your comment a day or two before when I took the risk of being open and vulnerable and asking if that helped and you responded that you though it helped and with then the big but about the amount of words I used. Once you explained that was your humour I understood ans was cool with it. I now engage in kind.

    Maybe it would be better if you left the big boys to it and listened Tom – you might learn something. šŸ™‚ Whether you take that as humour, banter conducive to connection, belonging and love and honour it or a condescending remark and insult and dishonour it with ad hominem of course is your freedom to choose. Think and say what you like, it’s water off a ducks back to me.

    I personally enjoy these conversations to and fro with David and going by what he has mentioned about other comments even using the word “cordial” shows that that he is not dissimilar with that. And the dance goes on…

  11. I’m not sure you are self-aware enough Ducatihero to realize that even when you’re trying to be funny, you’re very condescending.

  12. Ducatihero says:

    Just as a matter of interest, in the midst of all the “fun” of the ad hominem is anyone interested in engaging with the sincere questions “Is it true for all churches and all leaders in churches. Or is this indicative of the brokenness and sometimes the sickness in society of which the church is part of?

    Or is what we are about here, bashing anyone who is a leader in a church or a congregate for either being a narcissist or passively compliant with narcissism? And if we are bashing, then are we any better than those who have gone beyond critique to attack someone’s character, twist their words, and demean them in a public circle in other experiences?

  13. Ducatihero says:

    No more condescending than you have been David. For me it’s no big deal (I even enjoy it at times and treat it as banter), but when I see an abuse survivor being treated in that way by you that rings alarm bells. Does this ring any bells for you David?

    ” “We always have to be the right kind of victim, and I’m sick of it… If a victim says “this seems like an unhealthy situation that could turn abusive,” people don’t have the right to police that by automatically claiming the victim is supporting power structures if I see people going beyond critique to attack someone’s character, twist their words, and demean them in a public circle, that seems potentially abusive to me… if someone wants to say that makes me part of the problem… that frightens me.”

    “your responses have ranged from dismissive (“discomfort”) to a bit hurtful (invoking Ghandi and MLK).”

    Jesus did not encourage that – he did however have something to say about taking the plank out to be able to see clearly to remove the speck.

  14. Ducatihero says:

    No quick response from you this time David? You weren’t slow to respond to my other comments. The silence is deafening.

  15. Ducatihero says:

    My apologies, I missed out a couple of folks in my earlier responses.

    Lydia – being witness to how you too have spoken with an abuse survivor here recently in a not dissimilar manner to David, consistent with I know to take your insult as a sign that I am doing something right. Praise Jesus!

    Bridget – than you for your response. My questions in my initial comment were rhetorical. Any assumptions you perceive within them are, with all due respect, what you have read into the comment.

  16. Gary says:

    Ducatihero, You’re a hoot. It seems obvious to me why no one is “engaging with the sincere questions” with you.

    It’s a shame you don’t see it.

  17. Ducatihero says:

    Thank you Gary with what you say about me being a hoot. I always like to give someone a laugh šŸ™‚ So you want to shame me for asking the rhetorical questions?

    Yeah God does use what is perceived as the foolish of the world to shame what the world looks no as wise. As he does for the week shaming the strong in the case of someone recently a survivor of abuse and sufferer of PTSD in how she has commented. However when God uses someone of course it’s not them that does the shaming but by their appropriate actions, the shaming is the effect. Just as MLK talked of with direct action when he answered his accusers of not being militant enough.

    So do, please continue to try to make me look like a fool. Praise God!

  18. Ducatihero says:

    Anyway – this is all getting a bit silly. So I’ll make this the last comment on this thread.

    Fire away with your insults folks – have a ball!

  19. Curts says:

    Is it true for all churches and all leaders in churches? No. One good test is to ask: Does a leader allow others to question or disagree with them? Or, does the leader delete any posts or block any users that question them instead? That is one way to determine if David’s critique applies to a particular leader or church.

  20. Bridget says:

    Ducatihero March 18, 2015 at 9:21 am

    “Anyway – this is all getting a bit silly. ”

    Yes. Has it occurred to you that yours has been the loudest voice to the silliness?

  21. Gary says:

    Ducatihero,

    Your response is the perfect validation to my comment. God is not using you as some sort of anointed vessel to share profound insights with us. You are simply doing what you seem to do with every post…reveal an arrogant heart and drip condescension while trying to use the bible as a shield and some sort of twisted justification for your rude behavior. Enough with the Christianize bullshit…no one is buying it.

  22. John Jameson says:

    Perhaps it would be best if everyone adopted a don’t feed the trolls policy. If you wish to show Dave your support, then declare your support. If you wish to let trolls know their voice is unwanted, then don’t respond to their comments. Fires die without oxygen. Trolls get bored without replies.

  23. JRD says:

    Getting defensive and carrying on when people expose problems too often found in Christendom isn’t helpful. It’s incredibly sad how much it takes to unseat leaders from churches. The effort is better spent on trying to make churches inhospitable to wrongdoing, right now, it seems they just cover it up.

    Creflo Dollar can choke a 15 year old girl and his congregants will defend it and he’ll go on to ask for a jet from his followers. Mark Driscoll will refer to women as a home for her hisband’s penis and his congregants defended it. We get strong documentation that Tony Jones violently injured his now ex-wife and his buddies defend him. The sheer number of people in church leadership that lie, steal and rape are astounding, and far too often, their churches back them up. This has to stop, and getting defensive doesn’t help.

  24. Gary says:

    I agree John, though at times it is difficult to distinguish between a troll and a simple jerk. I’m not sure Ducatihero is actually trolling here.