Orientation to a missiological consultation on global leadership in community

This week I’m taking part in a missiological consultation on global leadership in community. We are taking the time to think through what God has to say into a conversation on global leadership.

These are my notes so far. They are imperfect and incomplete, but they are what I managed to capture. I’ll try to make them work in this context, but please bear with me if there are things that don’t make complete sense.

Today was the first day, so we spent a good chunk of time setting the scene.

Background

Prof Piet Meiring:

There are numerous challenges and opportunities facing all who are involved in God’s Mission in the often-confusing globalised world of the 21st Century. With deep understand of the issues at stake, coupled with keen historical and theological insights, we are encouraged to join the Triune God in his mission to the world, but also to explain what it takes to be a missionary leader today.

Dr Paul Bendor-Samuel:

Responding to challenges through the lens of missiological reflection has resulted in a total organisational transformation for the Alliance that is encouraging and influencing a new Bible translation movements around the world and enabling the emergence of a  new kind of leadership;

‘There is an urgent need for the development of global missional leaders who are able to make sense of our times, and are capable of understanding and leading locally.’

Louis and Susan Sutton WEC:

‘…a new approach to global leadership is needed, one that displays generosity of spirit, values friendship among leaders, and invites missiological reflection in the context of community.’

Dr Kirk Franklin

The concept of community in mission may be somewhat countercultural, going as it does against values of independence. Therefore, some considerations concerning its importance include the following:

  • It starts with the desire for any mission movement or structure to become a community of trust, with friendship as an expression of the unity of believers;
  • Community is essential in mission, and relies upon the spirit…(missed the end of this point)
  • Harmonious inter-cultural relationships are required because working in community is essential. God’s desire is for resources to be willingly, readily and generously shared through the community of God’s people, so that all may benefit
  • Community is dependent upon God’s grace because the work of the cross is the ultimate equaliser among people.

Introduction

We are here to explore together what it means to be leaders together in a constantly changing global mission context.

We meet together for the glory of God to give him honour so that his kingdom comes closer to this world that badly needs it.

A new model is needed

Cultural diversity has put pressure on mission. We know this, but nothing tells us how to form community in this.

We have to have wider pools of missiologically informed leaders who can lead in this context.

Discussions

Our discussions focussed around the following four points.

  • The triune God fully embodies his mission
  • The mission of the triune God has the whole of creation in focus
  • The triune God is the ultimate example of unity and friendship
  • The triune God in mission is the initiator, originator and source of authentic giving, receiving and generosity.

We took time to work through these four points, answering the following questions,

  • How do these statements reflect your current understanding of being a leader within God’s mission?
  • What do you think these statements to mean?
  • Given this understanding, what is the significance of these statements in shaping us as leaders within God’s mission?

Then we took time for some personal reflection,

  • Consider how you as a leader, or your approach to leadership, will change if it is to be shaped by this growing understanding of the mission of God

A leadership consultation

The Alliance has been holding consultations since 2006. These are intentional gatherings of people from our community involve participants from Europe, Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Sometimes we hold one large gathering, at other times we hold smaller, regional events. Regardless of the format, the intention is to allow everyone the opportunity to participate and be heard, and not one part of the world to dominate the conversation.

Next week I get to be part of one of these consultations, as we consider global leadership in community.

My invitation to the event put it like this,

‘As we look to the future we see a need for growing a body of leadership with a global missional mindset who understand the implications of friendship, community, globalisation, polycentrism and other issues impacting leadership engaging in God’s mission.’

I’m excited about this for so many reasons.

  • The opportunity to meet with such a diverse group of Christian leaders – all with different perspectives of what leadership means in their context and what the needs are – and learn from their experiences.
  • Taking time to listen to God together and consider what he may say into a conversation on global leadership.
  • Plus, another expectation that was listed on my invite, ‘Discover/imagine/dream together what leadership-in-community means, looks like and how it functions’ – sounds like fun to me.

Community

It’s probably worth explaining why ‘community’ keeps coming up in so much of the Alliance’s work.

One of the papers I’ve had to read in preparation for next week, says this,

‘The theme of community is of great relevance to the Alliance because it has grown to include over 100 interdependent self-governing organisations. How they relate to each other, and how the Alliance as an organisational structure relates to and supports these organisations is a growing challenge.’

Franklin, K.J., Niemandt, C.J.P., The Place of Friendship in the Mission of God

Not only is it an organisational challenge but community forms part of our foundation as an organisation. The first of our Principles of Community begins, ‘We are created for community and called to community’.

So, we will process our leadership thoughts in community and our outcomes will consider what leadership looks like in community.

No doubt I’ll come back with some thoughts after the consultation. If you want to follow what goes on during the week, or would be able to spare some time praying for what we are doing, look out for updates on my Facebook Page.