coverMy friend Gary Goodell has finally released his book, “Where Would Jesus Lead?” It’s interesting because it is in a missional frame, without using the word. Gary has naturally come to this place in his own life and work. He argues that to lead in these days we must be “among” rather than over or “from,” and that to lead today is to enter into the mess and chaos of other lives. Yes – a very incarnational and personal frame. The book blurb reads,

“Jesus modeled leadership by living and walking with His disciples, everyday people, and the religious leaders of His day. You can emulate His leadership style by changing the traditional hierarchical, pulpit-based leadership model of most Western churches to a more relational form of leading from among the people. This leadership style involves participating in the chaos of real, to-way relationships, yet bringing order by training and discipling in the midst of chaordic interaction.

“Where Would Jesus Lead?” is about leading among rather than leading from, or leading over, or leading from titles, positions, or assumed roles. Author and ministry leader Gary Goodell believes it is time to transition to a more collaborative style of leading, one of coming alongside people, for the peoples sake, and empowering them to achieve their personal God-given destiny. Thinking prophetically, the author courageously contends that interactive relationships that are purposeful yet inherently chaotic are ones to be joyfully embraced.”

coverI also read part way through Todd Hunter’s “Christianity Beyond Belief” this past weekend. What I love about Todd’s work is the sense of balance between Word and Spirit. Todd lives and believes in a “middle way,” the classic Vineyard phrase is “naturally supernatural” (See also the Hirsch’s in the new book “Untamed,” p82 ff). But the emphasis is integrative – mind, heart and spirit. Like Gary, Todd is a great storyteller. He has been through the “deconstruction” phrase and if you have followed the news, you know that Todd is now an Anglican bishop. He closes the book with an argument for “three is enough” groups, labeled in other places LTG’s or “triads.”

Ok, one final book I was reading last week, Tim Morey’s “Embodying Our Faith.” Tim’s book grew out of a recommendation from friends like Eddie Gibbs that he should somehow publish his DMin dissertation. The subtitle of Tim’s book is “Becoming a Living, Sharing, Practicing Church.” I haven’t noticed anywhere that he defines “practice,” but in reading it seems to be something like “learning and growing and doing.” As you might guess from the title, Tim is especially on about “embodiment” – in practice, in life, in apologetics. His first chapter is entitled, “Show and Tell,” and the second is titled, “Same Wine, Different Skin.”

I was particularly interested in chapters three and four, “.. Disciplemaking” and “Disciplines of Disciples.” Tim notes that the old frame was “evangelism” and then “discipleship,” but that the current shift is more integrative, so he reframes as “evangelism and spiritual formation,” with much greater emphasis on process versus event. He uses two metaphors to describe the shift: from an emphasis on picking fruit to an emphasis on watering roots, and from baskets to shovels (this is the “event” vs “process” point and the need for embodied, personal apologetics). But maybe the best part of this chapter is p. 95 to the end. Tim works out of Colossians 4:2-4. Paul asks the young church to pray for an open door for the gospel. The strong focus of Paul’s exhortation is to pray, with the implicit meaning that there is no growth for the gospel apart from the working of the Spirit. We depend far too much on our own strengths, we need to lean much more heavily on God.

In the following chapter on “Disciplines,” Tim relies heavily on Dallas Willard. “Three elements are necessary for lasting spiritual change to occur… person must have a vision for what he or she can become, the intention to work toward.. the vision, and the means to fulfill the vision.” (105). A helpful discussion of disciplines as opening space follows, and then also some notes on the use of a shared “rule” in history 9112-113). Tim then offers some thoughts on “measurements” and offers the two common errors in the practice of disciplines: neglect, because we think growth will happen automatically, and the tendency to make the means into the end, turning disciplines into law. (Just how important is it that we measure the right stuff – ie. the intangibles — watch this TED talk.)

An interesting note on this chapter. Tim opens with the story of the intention of his community, from day one, to plant other churches. That experience itself was forming, becoming one of the most important elements in spiritual growth for their community. And I’ll share with you the opening quotation from chapter five, “Experiential Faith.”

“The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of;
our attention would have been on God.”
CS Lewis, “Letters to Malcolm”

3 Comments on chaordic leadership, embodiment

  1. don says:

    Dang it Len … I can’t keep up with your blog, never mind your reading / reveiwing list. Sure helpful though!



  2. John L says:

    “training and discipling in the midst of chaordic interaction.”

    What usually passes for “go and make disciples” seems little more than religious salesmanship. If they will know you by love, it implies that “making disciples” is more about one’s personal life that continually grows in love, and less about one’s ability to sell a belief system (related here to Willard’s vision, intention, means). My friend says, “the truest defense of the faith is not a defense of the faith but the act of love.” I’m more and more convinced that Jesus didn’t come to start a religion but to save us from it.

    Love the Lewis quote.

  3. Tim Morey says:

    Thanks Len for the warm words – so glad the book was a blessing to you!