Power outage

When leaders don't lead
What happens when power is seen as inherently suspect and even evil? What happens when power in the church is viewed as bad? What are the implications for the church when its leaders eschew power and influence and consider them qualities or capacities to be avoided?

This past summer I taught a course at a seminary in Canada. Forty people showed up for “Pastoral Leadership for Congregational Transformation.” Most were pastors of the United Church of Canada, with a little leaven from other church bodies, including Anglican and Lutheran.

Early in the week I asked participants to complete an exercise that explores motivation. Why do we do what we do? What “gets our engines going”? What activities give us the greatest satisfaction? As they answered these questions, people found themselves in one of three groups. They learned that their prime motivator was one of three factors: affiliation, achievement, or power and influence.


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