As I scan the directory of pastors and congregations in our area church, I am inspired and immensely grateful. I know that very fine pastoral leadership is happening. I know that intense hours are being spent crafting biblically sound sermons. I know that lonely people are being visited, small people are being noticed and subdued voices are being heard. I know that people are being nurtured into baptism, blessed in their relationships and given a farewell of hope when they die.
I hear reports of sparkling adult Sunday school classes with high attendance and intense discussions. I observe congregants who look to their pastors for meaningful direction and who take their counsel seriously.
I see this and I hear of this. Good leadership is happening.
Collectively these pastors give shape to the leadership landscape of the larger church. There is comfort and safety in knowing that leadership is a communal pursuit and does not rest on one individual, but is owned together.
There is comfort and relief in knowing that leadership in any given congregation will also be spread and extended over the lifetime of that congregation. No one leader shoulders the entire weight of a congregation’s life.
It is important to maintain realistic, balanced and healthy expectations, realizing that each of us may only contribute a small sliver of leadership and administer a small dose of authority in a lifetime.
I like Jethro’s advice to Moses, suggesting that leadership be shared to avoid wearing out. And Moses graciously accepted the advice. It’s a nice story.
Leadership is a gift that is given. We recognize it in community. We give it to those among us whom we trust. We share it, we treat it gently, we treat it respectfully.
Let’s celebrate leadership, let’s be lifted and transported by it, not to places where selected egos are satisfied, but to places where good news is heard, sight is recovered, release is proclaimed and oppression is lifted.
And to our blinking surprise we will see that we have been given commu-nity because we obediently tied towels around our waists and knelt at each other’s feet.
Jerry Buhler will finish as area church minister of Mennonite Church Saskatchewan on March 31.
—Posted Feb. 11, 2015