I’m a sucker for articles about creative business leaders like this because they introduce me to people I don’t know. And it sparks ideas about how we might be more creative in the non-profit world of spiritual communities. Linda Boff makes boring GE products sound cool. Cameron Piron is creating more precise methods of brain surgery. Katy Fike is dreaming up new inventions to make growing older safer while also finding money for those inventions. I love reading about these people.
So where are the creative non-profit leaders? There are lists of Important Preachers out there. There are lists of best-selling authors who are also church leaders. There are church consultants paid to work with congregations to improve their organization and mission outreach.
But who in the church would you say are the most creative leaders in terms of helping to shift their congregations into a new way of being the church for these days? Who is doing the on-the-ground work? (I’d selfishly like to know because I want to work with them.)
There are many factors that keep us from being creative non-profit leaders:
- Administrivia gets in the way. When our people still expect us to spend most of our time creating bulletins and worship power points, and attending meetings, it’s hard to do The Big Things that make a difference in the overall movement of an organization.
- Expectations are dated (but still expected.) When church members expect pastors to keep regular office hours so that they can drop by at a whim, that’s a problem. When it’s expected that the pastor -and only the pastor – will offer pastoral car, that’s a problem. No pastor can simultaneously be a 1950s leader and a 2010s leader. They require very different foci.
Many of the middle judicatories in my denomination are seeking new leadership and – from what I can tell – we all want something new. We want creative change agents. We want skill sets that reflect a changing culture (e.g. multicultural outreach, technological know-how, anti-racism chops, mediation proficiency, superior gifts in imagination and communication.)
Who are those people in Church World who both have the creativity AND the leadership to Make Shifts Happen? I’d like to see that list.
Video is a TED Talk featuring Chicago potter and activist Theaster Gates. He was named one of the 100 most creative people by Fast Company in 2015. He has the skills to bring both imagination and impact.