Beyond Ouija Board Leadership (part 4 of 5)

Jon Mullican

by Jon Mullican

 

Our recent posts compare leadership functioning in some churches with the game of Ouija: questions are posed and decisions made based on hidden forces within and between the members that are not, or will not, be revealed. Rather than allow mystery to remain the theme of leader interaction, it is possible to bring the forces out into the open and deal with them in mature and thoughtful ways, so that decisions can be made and actions taken that are intentional, thoughtful and God fearing. The recent posts have explored trust within the group and the group’s ability to address conflict within the group to lessen the hold of Ouija Board Leadership.

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After trust and conflict, the next important factor to move beyond Ouija Board Leadership is establishing an effective way for the group to be led. So many church leadership groups fall into the “Leader of the Month” mode of governance, alternating leadership every thirty days. This assures that no one is in charge and the answers the group generates are as random as if playing the Ouija Board Game. The “Monthly Leader” method stems from two things: egalitarianism and a fear of power grabbing by others. This also ensures little gets done and what gets done is ineffective and wandering, not to mention driving staff ministers crazy by trying to keep up with who is responsible for what decision and where various processes are at what time.

Encourage the group to choose a year-long leader based on giftedness and set some broad limitations on their authority.

To improve this situation is to abandon the thought that giving everyone one a chance in the leadership seat is a good thing. Some are gifted at leading a group and some are not. Encourage the group to choose a year-long leader based on giftedness and set some broad limitations on their authority. Ensure the leader creates meeting agendas that allow input from fellow leaders and encourage the leader to keep the “ball rolling” on important processes. Give that leader a chance to renew their leadership for one more year and then ensure a new leader takes the role.

By choosing a longer term leader, the fuzziness and uncertainty of multiple transfers of responsibility within a year goes away and authority and accountability go up. Because the group is working on trust and addressing conflict appropriately, the concern for power grabbing goes down, since any such maneuver will be less likely (trust) and if it shows, will be addressed (conflict management).

  • Who leads your leadership group? How often does the leadership role change?
  • How would consistent leadership aid your current processes?
    By choosing a longer term leader, the fuzziness and uncertainty of multiple transfers of responsibility within a year goes away and authority and accountability go up.
  • Are there concerns about power within your group? When did you last discuss the use of power within your group?
  • What does Jesus say about power? Did Jesus use power to lead? If so, how?

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3

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