Justin Hiebert

Catalyzing Change

Assessing value

Posted on 29 Jun 2013 in Christianity, Church, Leadership, missional theology, Uncategorized | 1 comment

In the shift from institutional to missional thought, one of the things that has to change is the way in which value and leadership are assessed. All too often, institutional methodology focuses on the ‘rightness’ of a particular practice. Value (worth or benefit) is based on how a particular practice or program is based in line with the leader, pastor, etc… This inherently creates a way in which leadership becomes central, deployment is limited, and empowerment is almost impossible (almost). It is a self-limiting way to lead people: it ends up making clones instead of disciples.

In the missional frontier, empowerment and releasing need to be the primary focus. This necessitates a change in the way leadership is understood. It realizes that things may not be bad just different. It means rightness gives way to effectiveness. It changes the way we think: from central focused to community commitment.

Global Missional Leadership Orientation Advanc...

Global Missional Leadership Orientation Advance photos (Photo credit: lorenkerns)

Signs you are living in an institutional culture:

  • A statement: “We’ve never done it that way before.”
  • A reaction of fear: “That’s not the way Pastor Jim did it.”
  • Cloaked ‘advice’: “A helpful suggestion you may want to try…..(and then it ends up being the way they would do it….)
  • Small thinking: “How could we get better [insert favorite program] leaders?”
  • A person: “Since I already do everything, what’s one more thing?”

[pullquote]In a learning community, we come to know ourselves as we are known by God. True learning is a holistic process of formation and transformation, occurring best in and through a safe and hospitable learning community in which members yearn for God’s kingdom to be realized in their lives as well in the world. The teacher and the students are traveling together on a pilgrimage toward the ever intensifying vision of God’s Kingdom…”[/pullquote]

Equipping people to live missionally means empowering them to become better disciples of Jesus, not better clones of a pastor, church structure, or particular theology. When we see that we are all able to contribute something to the advancement of the Kingdom of God, we see just how beautifully ?multifaceted it is; that there is space, room, hope, and joy for everyone. “For this purpose, true learning involves a holistic, formational process as an opportunity for the Holy Spirit’s transformational work, which often takes place in and through the faith community. It consists of encouragement, empowerment, and guidance as people mature in the image of Christ and commune with the Triune God.” (A Many Colored Kingdom Elizabeth Conde-Frazier and Steve Kang, page 152)

The role of the leader must change to meet this new shift. Instead of being the decision maker or final authority, they empower people and release them to experience God in a new shaped community. Instead of deciding what’s “right”, missional leaders need to say, “What could these people bring that would enhance and challenge us to grow and increase in our own Christlike-ness?” Or, as Conde-Frazier and Kang say later, “we teachers fully commit to encountering and being shaped through the communion of saints in God’s time and space, we model authentic kingdom citizenship to our students.”


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What do you think? How do you see leadership changing? What would you add to my list?

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Justin Hiebert

Leadership Catalyst - Entrepreneur - Coach at JSHiebert Leadership Coaching
I am a Business and Life Coach in both non-profit and for profit settings. I coach leaders, executives, and pastors in areas of vision, clarity, and values. In relationship coaching I focus on healthy and sustainable relationships, and in leadership development roles I catalyze change for individuals and groups to thrive. I also consult churches and organizations on how to train new leaders and create a healthy culture. In addition to that, I am an Anabaptist pastor in the Denver metro area. I specialize on topics that include: missional theology, discipleship, culture and the church in today’s society. I am married to my wonderful wife Elise and we have three kids. I grew up and now work in the United States Mennonite Brethren Church (USMB) and love the people and history of the Mennonite Brethren faith. I am a graduate of Tabor College with a dual degree in Youth Ministry and Christian Leadership, a graduate of Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary with a Masters of Divinity, and a Doctoral Student and Bethel Seminary. I also teach college classes in areas of Bible, Communication, and Business.

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  • mike

    This sounds very similar to the Catholic Church’s empire building hierarchical model, with the “Global Missional Leadership Orientation(GMLO)” being the ‘College of Cardinals’ so to speak. …and what would/could God do without us…

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