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Are We Chewing Up and Spitting Out Leaders?

How do we honor people as persons instead of seeing them as potential producers of ministry product?

There are many ways to answer this question, but I think the best place to start is with some questions based on this passage.  

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed, only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” —Luke 10:38-42

Let’s assume that the pastor is in the place of Jesus in this story and that Mary is a leader or a potential leader. How might this inform how we work with leaders?

For instance, how would it shape the amount of time spent with leaders?

How might it change the dialogue?

How would it inform the questions asked of the leader?

How might it open doors to tap into the deep passions of the leader to see what he or she longs to contribute?

How might this demonstrate that the leader is valuable as a person more than he or she is valuable as a leader?

We preach that we need to be with Jesus like Mary was, but then we structure our churches for a bunch of Marthas.

Developing some kind of ‘how to’ list so that we can change this will not get us anywhere. There are deep patterns that shape how we have lead the church and how we have created roles that use up leaders.

If we want to lead somewhere else, then we have to ask different kinds of questions. At least that’s a place to start.  

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M. Scott Boren is a Teaching Pastor at Woodland Hills Church in Saint Paul, MN and consultant who partners with The Missional Network (www.themissionalnetwork.com). He has written and co-written eight books, including Introducing the Missional Church, Missional Small Groups and MissioRelate. He share life with his bride, Shawna, and their four children, all under the age of eight. He can be reached at his website: www.mscottboren.com.