ECF Vital Practices June 2015: Facing Leadership Challenges New Articles

June 3, 2015

Leadership challenges come in many forms. One constant we must all face is the ever changing nature of God’s creation, including that of our faith communities. Effective leaders recognize this and pray and work together, seeking understanding of situations and options, and modeling a willingness to move forward, even when the way is unclear.

This quote, from SSJE’s Brother Give Us A Word meditation, captures this constant state of change and reminds us that:

“God prunes, and, as He prunes, enables the tree to grow with a better growth. He cuts down in order that He may graft in, and He would let the old life grow with new fruitfulness.”-Richard Meux Benson, SSJE (1824-1915)

Our June contributors share stories of change that encourage pruning and grafting in ways to cultivate congregational vitality and fruitfulness.

When there’s a good match between leadership styles and an organization, it’s easier to meet challenges as they arise. Yet sometimes, the wrong combination of leadership styles can result in challenges ballooning into bigger problems. Gail Lebert’s “The Wizard of Oz or Dorothy?” shares insights developed by Brian McLaren related to the leadership styles of these two famous characters.

The vestry at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church was in danger of burning out. Something had to give. In “SWEEPS Out Burnout,” senior warden Jeff Bartee shares the steps church leaders took to reframe vestry leadership, drawing on the SWEEPS model and consent agendas to empower leaders and free the vestry to focus on the mission and vision of the congregation.

Lucy Cabrera Montes shares the story of her faith journey as a leader in the Church in “Come as You Are.” Introduced to The Episcopal Church by her aunt, Lucy was a reluctant teenage participant. Over time, she discovered a community that cared for and supported her discernment as she wrestled with questions related to what God was calling her to do. (Offered in Spanish, with English translation provided.)

God assures us that there is no need to be anxious, yet anxiety seems to be a common human experience. Robin Hammeal-Urban’s “Leadership in Times of Change” offers a model to help leaders manage change, be aware of their own feelings, and help parishioners address their own emotions to support health, wholeness, and vitality for years to come.

It’s our hope that these stories and ideas might spark a conversation at a vestry or other leadership meeting and provide a catalyst for looking at your own situation in a different way.

Each article includes a practical application that you might try at an upcoming vestry meeting. You’ll also find a list of resources related to the topic. If you have a resource you’d like to share, please email me with the link or add it to the site using the Your Turn feature.

If you are interested in seeing our Spanish language content, please visit our searchable index for our Spanish content here.

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