You are on page 1of 13


Leadership from the Inside Out

While varying slightly from diocese to diocese or province to province, the Anglican Church has a formation process for leadership based heavily upon the creation of "one-size-fits-all" clergy. An accidental by-product of the outside-in process is a failure to honor the unique giftedness each leader presents for leadership and, ultimately, to capitalize on his or her gifts. This process sits in contradiction to the stories of emerging leaders from Scripture and the history of the church. In order to position ourselves for leadership in the present and the future, we must turn our attention back toward the unique gifts of each emerging leader while remaining acutely aware of the context from wiiich he or she emerges and in which he or she serves.

The story of Ghad Hurley and Steve Ghen reads like the stories of two of our own biblical leaders, Joshua and Paul. John Gloud, writing for Time magazine, says this of Hurley, one of the founders of internet giant YouTube: "Ghad was unusual in that his artistic proclivities coincided with an interest in business and technology,"^ Ghen's family remarks that he was always a bit of a risk taker and Gloud describes him as "peripatetic," In the winter of 2005, after shooting video at a dinner party at Ghen's apartment, the two wanted to send the footage to friends, yet had trouble sharing the video online. Hurley, Ghen, and Jawid Karim were colleagues at PayPal: Hurley was a graphic designer responsible for PayPal's logo, and Ghen and Karim

* James P. Bartz is the founder and Lead Minister of Thads, an emerging congregation in Culver City (West Los Angeles), California. An Episcopal priest with extensive experience in ministry to young adults, he is a member of the Gathering of Leaders, a long-term leadership initiative in the Episcopal Church, and has previously served on the Alumni/Alumnae Executive Committee of the Virginia Theological Seminary. ' John Cloud, "The Gurus of YouTube: How a Gouple of Guys Built a Company that Changed the Way We See Ourselves," Time, December 16, 2006. http://www.,9171,1570721,00.html


As she declares au iuteutiou to seek the role of leader. Joshua.82 Anglican Theological Review were eugiueers. 363. 2003). Workiug together for some time aud beating considerable odds. Loug before Moses cousecrated him. . Iustitutioually. Our curreut process for the identification of leaders iu the Episcopal Ghurch is heavily depeudeut upou foriuatiou." Both gifts aud coutext helped these three to become such accomplished leaders at a youug age. fought to preserve Israel. ratliér thau euteriug a formaUzed or structured foriuatiou process. It is directly tied to the uuiqueuess of the aspiriug leader himself aud the coutext or times iu which he is leadiug. au "outside-iu" process. Iu the bibhcal uarrative these emergiug leaders seem to begiu eugagiug the God-directed life uearly right away. While the uarratives of the biblical text tell tales of leadership developiug out of gifts aud coutext. Golo. that is. The biblical text gives witness to au "iuside-out" process of developiug leaders.^ The YouTube story cau assist iu drawiug tighter focus on a theology of leadership as we examine their story over aud agaiust those of bibhcal leaders hke Joshua or Paul.65 bilhou. assumiug that we begiu with a sort of "blank slate" caudidate aud theu eugage each poteutial leader ^ Eugene H. but also to create a "uew way to see the world. but today occupies promiueuce for each of the Abrahamic faiths. sou of Nuu. At the same time that our Gommuuion possesses a very specific ecclesiological process toward ordained leadership or the conferring of authority—varying ouly slightly from diocese to diocese or province to province—that very process seems to sit iu coutrast to the narratives iu Scripture. Au aspiriug leader usually ideutifies iu herself the desire to assume a leadership role or is ideutified by clergy. the three managed uot ouly to build a compauy that Google would acquire for $1.: NavPress. we curreutly focus ou the developmeut of ordaiued leaders iu a semiuary settiug. our church's curreut model focuses maiuly upon formation. Peterson. Both his gifts as a young military leader aud his positiou as Moses' servaut early iu hfe eveutually propelled Joshua to become the oue who led Israel into a stretch of laud that had beeu otherwise iusiguificaut. the gears of the iustitutioual machinery are set iu motiou aud the aspiriug leader is subject to evaluatiou aud heavy formatiou that ofteu does uot houor the uuiqueuess of the aspiraut's personality or her curreut coutext for miuistry. The Message Remix: The Bible in Contemporary Language (Colorado Springs.

slave to slave (1 Gor. Jesus himself chose twelve different ambassadors. there can be no denying that the process has failed to engage much of the culture existing outside the cloister of the church itself. was most assuredly formed out of a very specific context. As each leader pursues deeper connection with Greator and creature. 9:20-22). The God love-life. with the best of intentions. Yet this pattern is not the one demonstrated in the Scriptures. out-in-front leadership roles. much less emerged as the principal planter of the Jesus faith. Each of these biblical and historical leaders. if he were posted in Jerusalem? Would James have had success in Corinth. or Bede Criffiths in Manhattan? Our patterns for selecting and forming leadership have. If Paul were called and formed in such a process. But in the process of living into his full identity and embracing his own context. Paul possessed a natural intuition for the importance of recognizing identity and context in a theology of leadership: Greek to Greek. gave his own constituency new and powerful ways of seeing the world through its unique interpretation of the God love-life. rather than a relationship prescribed by the institution or external expectations. regarded by some as the father of Western Christianity. more than a reluctant Christian—not one who would voluntarily turn himself over to the discernment of the institution. for any of the disciples. would he have survived. then. We are able to . He was. is the passionate pursuit of intimate relationship with God from the inside out. of whom less than half served in public. at the beginning. the blessing expressed is both of God and unique because it extends from the unique giftedness of the leader. teaching. fallen into a "one-size-fits-all" pattern. While some might argue that Chad Hurley and Steve Chen were in the right place at the right time and so would characterize their success as lucky. encouraging—with the ultimate hope of ordaining that newly formed leader for "the whole church. being both influenced by Platonic doctrine and engaged in theological discourse after the fall of Rome. or for leaders like Augustine. by expressing his own uniqueness while staying in touch with his context.LEADERSHIP FROM THE INSIDE O U T 83 in both academic and communal formation—testing. we would never do the same for Moses or Joshua or Paul. Augustine. Jew to Jew. Each had his own role in the family and each led. as would happen today. So we conclude he sought out each of the twelve because of the disciple's own uniqueness. evaluating. he became one of the most influential leaders in Christian theology." And while the process does seem to support the institution as it has developed in the modem age.

The "one-size-fíts-all" or "outside-in" understanding of leadership for the Episcopal Church in the United States is a failing model. especially if each leader is formed for work within the confines of the institution? Knowing what we know about the story of God's interaction with humans in creation. became the father of Westem Christianity. Ruth. a reluctant convert despite continual pleas from his mother.84 Anglican Theological Review recognize from the narrative. seeking to identify qualities these godly leaders embodied. entering Jerusalem in triumph on an ass rather than a stallion. What does the Word recount of its leaders? What are the defining characteristics? Are those characteristics transferable from one leader to another in order to discern the will of God? Are we able to see consistent patterns in the biblical text when it comes to leadership? Ironically. We know the narrative speaks of a multitude of leaders and leadership styles: Noah. we are most assuredly missing Godinspired and God-called leaders because of our hyperattention to our own particular or narrow context. Jesus. a fastidious student of the law and persecutor of those following the Jesus way. Moses. . Joshua. even if he was not the most likely of candidates according to popular opinion. Aaron. how then are we able to engage the world expanding outside Christendom. If each leader is called from the pew. became the ironic Messiah. became the catalyst for the spread of the Jesus movement outside the boundaries of the land Joshua occupied centuries earlier. biblical and historical. how then would we approach the development of a theology of leadership for our Communion? We should reflect first upon the scriptural account of leadership. Samuel. bom of an unwed. the young servant. The essential starting point for developing a theology of leadership in Episcopal or Anglican circles. only to be executed days later. Job. David. within the Christian faith as a whole and perhaps within any community of faith. While we continue to form leadership for our existing but shrinking communities. Moses. Augustine. virginal mother and a father bom on the wrong side of the Davidic family tree. became God's voice for Israel. became the legendary military strategist who led and inspired Israel to occupy the Holy Land. the answer to this last question is both yes and no. at the same time we are failing to recognize the context existing outside the cloister. Joshua. the inarticulate stutterer. Paul. Isaiah. is the consultation of Scripture. that each of these leaders was uniquely gifted and appropriately placed in a certain context that propelled him to take on a legendary leadership role.

it seems to fail to give us a consistent pattern of leadership. . The bishop of Los Angeles has gone to great lengtlis in recognizing where my identity and calling has led me slightly outside the ^ Frederiek Bueehner." and they acted with the resources available to them at the time: God's call on their lives. acknowledged the centrality of the divine in human existence and sought to express that reality within a particular context. connecting those characters and their own context with our own. Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC (New York: Harper & Row. the narrative seems to tell a tale of a multiplicity of leaders engaging a variety of peoples and events.LEADERSHIP FROM THE INSIDE OUT 85 and Daniel. with a deep understanding of the context or reality in which he or she is living and attempting to lead. An unstudied view of these leaders would suggest that the only thing uniting them one to another is the canon of Scripture itself. That is a complicated way of saying these leaders were "themselves. we do not study the text from the outside in as we would a novel or screenplay."'^ These biblical characters and many of the great historical figures of the church are remembered and revered today because of this very course of leadership. 1973). Nevertheless. what does unite them is that each leader engages the God-life from his or her own unique identity. in his or her own way and time. 95. As Frederick Buechner wrote. Close examination of the Scriptures reveals brilliantly crafted characters who are willing individuals serving and sacrificing for their communities in order to lead others toward the God love-Ufe that has so captured their way of understanding their world. as they understood it. If we have only a cursory understanding of the narrative of the biblical text. We insert ourselves into the experience and listen carefully for the Word to come alive. as voyeurs. using the uniqueness of his or her own identity or personality. chronologically. However. we find that individuals with specific gifts are engaging circumstances or contexts in which their gifts empower them to lead in co-creative partnership with God. From the outside in. and logistically. But upon closer examination of the narrative as a whole. as Anglicans and serious students of Scripture. they lived "where the world's great need met [their] own deepest desire. Their stories are different geographically. The characteristic binding these figures one to anotlier seems to be that each.

understanding our passions and each other. in a very short time Thad's has raised up and is supporting three aspiring leaders. Perhaps we can examine Hurley and Ghen.86 Anglican Theological Revieio boundaries of the traditional parish setting. That desire propelled them to create a forum through which to express themselves. our own aspiring leaders have similar stories. At Thad's. While all are pursuing graduate degrees in divinity. then. each of whom is taking a different approach to formation for leadership in ministry. he hopes to found a Thad's in the Bay Area following his graduate school. to communicate or facilitate the expression of their desire. entrepreneurial work for the kingdom becomes difficult if not impossible. and graphic design fueled their creative process until they developed a platform. as each leader has distinguished himself in a unique way and is in the process of positioning to build the church and the kingdom. He has entered a traditional seminary as a postulant from our diocese. and unless we create new ways to understand and appreciate the unique gifts of leaders. only one is formally engaged in the ordination process within our diocese. resources like computer engineering. More importantly in the history of our own small but growing community. They had a desire to share a story with their friends about a dinner party. The forum they created is distinctive to their own context and identity as Silicon Valley computer gurus. The process at present feels risky yet faithful. many of whom have never been to church before or engaged in any intentional way the gospel life that Jesus offers. Thus.1 left the relative security of a larger. He is engaged with a local seminary and will . as secular models for this pattern of leadership. The lesson ofthat experience has been that unless we really know ourselves as individuals. With the help and blessing of the bishop and my former parish. successful parish in order to start Thad's. Another is still uncertain. but knows that a mix of passion for Jesus and music and people has led him to seek leadership in a Ghristian community of some sort. the web. One is fluent in the language and culture of the traditional church and has the burning desire to see those communities supported in the future. an emerging Episcopal community seeking to engage people who would not otherwise darken the door of a traditional parish. YouTube. Another is still discerning whether to participate in that process. And the third is committed to engaging the gospel life outside the security of the denomination. In 2006. we have created a community in the last year and a half of over 150 people.

he met the voice of the Riseu Jesus aud over the course of either several days or a couple of years (depeudiug upou how you iuterpret the story). some as kings. beiug ceutered iu their God-giveu ideutity. Ou the road to Damascus. theu.Div. He became a fully devoted follower of Jesus. these leaders are uuique aud autheutic. He was just as devoted as always. exercised his autheutic ideutity by evaugeliziug the uear world. and theu eucouragiug aud admouishiug those coiumuuities as tliey sought to share the Way with more aud more people iu word aud deed. The coruerstoue for developiug a bibhcal theology of leadership is faithfuluess aud autheuticity—ideutity ceutered iu the diviue. aud their faithfuluess is expressed through their owu uuique voices: some as prophets. the way he practiced his life." Paul's owu story is uot much differeut. his perspective ou the ideutity of God shifted. leaders have au uuderstaudiug of their owu uuique selves. He became the ferveut aud priucipal spokespersou for the Way. allowiug communities to develop locahzed vehicles for telhug the story of Jesus. They do uot seek to be couformed to auy particular model other thau faithfuluess. His rehgious fervor was so great or his desire was so great that it commauded a siguificaut portiou of his atteutiou. theu. expressing a kuowledge of God. I believe. That is to say. others as poteutial martyrs. Secoud. my heart is full of joy because of the Riseu Jesus" (Acts 16:25). autheuticity or uuiqueuess is uot . some as servauts. To paraphrase Paul. they are faith-full eveu iu times of doubt aud despair. The bibhcal text. iu that he did uot move from beiug au ardeut adherent to the law to beiug a vapid follower of Jesus. some as priests. outside of a traditioual three-year semiuary course of study The third kuows he is called to establish au emergeut commuuity iu Sau Fraucisco.LEADERSHIP FROM THE INSIDE O U T 87 receive au M. but uow he was devoted to the Way rather thau the law. provides two characteristics for the developmeut of a "theology of leadership. autheuticity is more lacldug. While it is true that faithfuluess is uot iu short supply withiu the rauks of our Auglicau leadership. Because those differeut paths toward leadership are deeply tied to each aspiraut's ideutity aud coutext. the paths cau ouly emerge from the "inside out. "eveu though I am sitting here iu this prisou. williugly blesses each persou who euters more deeply iuto his or her owu way of leadership iu the gospel life. of hardship aud adversity. A healthy church. Iu a "ouesize-fits-all" formatiou process. Paul." First. But his ideutity did uot chauge. Saul was a deeply religious studeut of Torah aud its iuterpretatiou withiu his owu coutext as a Pharisee.

Rob Bell recounts learning that.'"* Here. 1:5). Anything else you do is sin and you need to repent of it. I started identifying how much of my life was about making sure the right people were pleased with me. ^ Jeremiali 1:5 in Peterson. in his book The Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Life."^ If we are able to create communities that encourage aspiring and existing leaders to gain a deeper understanding of their own • * Rob Bell. "Before I shaped you in the womb. I knew all about you. God is the author ofthat identity and remains in co-creative relationship with us.88 Anglican Theological Review highly valued." Bell goes on to say. While authentic leadership may be highly valued by the culture. Eugene Peterson paraphrases. Pastor Rob Bell recounts not only his own personal struggle to maintain authenticity. 2005). . The Message/Remix. We remember the words of God to Jeremiah: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. "Your job is the relentless pursuit of who God made you to be. and before you were born I consecrated you. an understanding of a theology of leadership is dependent upon the truth that at the center of our identity is God. 114. I appointed you a prophet to the nations" (Jer. in order to serve the kingdom best in his own context. "The relentless pursuit of who God made me to be. I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations—that's what I had in mind for you. For example. it is widespread throughout North America and Europe. He was reminded by his therapist during a difficult period in his ministry. Mich. 1345. In addition. so that we may activate our unique gifts for the good of the kingdom and the Body of Ghrist. The Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith (Grand Rapids. And as this became more and more clear. Before you saw the light of day. I realized how less and less pleased I was with myself What happens is our lives become so heavily oriented around the expectations of others that we become more and more like them and less and less like ourselves. Certainly the problem is not uniquely Anglican or Episcopal. but also describes it as a necessity for the Christian leader's life. he must be himself—authentic—while in relentless pursuit of the divine. the unity provided by our own Prayer Book worship can accidentally lead to an uninspired uniformity. How many of us in leadership in the church have experienced a similar challenge? Critical to this process is maintaining a connection to the divine.: Zondervan.

" A leader must have a clear understanding of context in order to be successful." In his chapter entitled "The Shift from Church Growth to Kingdom Growth. describes the importance of context for the faithful worker in this way: "The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. 11. we will take a giant leap backward toward the process of leadership outlined in the narrative of Scripture and in the history of our faith. and lead.^ He does this not just with the content of his book. The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church (San Francisco. noting research that states that 50 percent of church attendees attend churches in the top 10 percent of church size."^ While I believe the first responsibility of a leader is to be faithfully authentic." McNeal challenges church leadership's grasp on reality. ^ Max Depree. Jossey-Bass. chairman emeritus of furniture maker Herman Miller Inc. It should look different in Texas because life there is different. Leadership is an Art (New York: Doubleday. the next step is to "define reality. serve.LEADERSHIP FROM THE INSIDE OUT 89 God-given uniqueness. Reggie McNeal does an excellent job of presenting the problem that can arise when leadership fails to define reality accurately or to understand context.. to know one's self and to be known in community. the "wrong question" is. principles. but also its structure. One of the unfortunate by-products of a one-size-fits-all approach to leadership in a one-size-fits-all church is that failure to define reality or context puts us back in the position of increasing our competencies in areas that are outside the current context in which we live. the process of knowing one's self and being known in community is not enough. Max Depree. . nor is it comprehensive in a theology of leadership. In his book The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church. Recognizing that unique gifts need to be expressed within certain differing contexts is essential. 2004). ' Reggie McNeal. With church leadership's focus fixed upon growing the church. 24-42. and if we are able to create systems of support. Calif.. For him. "How do we grow this church?" McNeal goes on to point out that one of the significant side effects of the church growth movement has been the creation of significant competition between congregations. He uses a dialogical process characterized by a "wrong question" and a "tough question. The church in West Los Angeles where I currently serve should look different from the church where many of my former colleagues serve in rural Texas. 2003). However.

Perhaps. gospel-driven leadership is critical. we have responded with an intentional effort at increasing the competency of current leadership. might only heighten awareness of a need for a new kind of leader. Where does this faith family reside? Secular. both in . We must understand our constituencies." Yet the movement fails to define reality properly. or we have a church that is failing to act on its principal mission of exposing more and more people to the love of God. but the subtleties of context and its place of premier importance in determining successful. rather than focus upon a strategic plan that may be outside the context of the people with whom we have the privilege of serving. as the church and its leadership seek to develop sharper competency. or impoverished but religiously inclined rural America? Certainly this is an overly simplistic example in order to make a point. even those who might well verbalize this reahty. wealthy Manhattan. Gontext. such growth is a by-product or a response to tlie good that we bring to the world as Jesus' followers. we adopt universal or one-size-fits-all metrics in order to evaluate success or growth or transformation. But if the context of the church has changed. increased competency within the existing structures and boundaries. While many leaders seeking to develop more proficient strategies for stewardship in order to increase mission and care inside and outside their local communities of faith would use universally published annual average pledges as a metric for measuring success in their congregation. "How do we transform our community?" Godly leadership is not primarily directed toward the growth of our worshipping communities. faithful. Even today.90 Anglican Theological Review practices. an era more closely resembling that of the early church. we know rationally that many factors exist in determining successful stewardship of funds. "How do we grow our churches?" but rather. as tlie demand for fresh leadership has grown in the church. and metrics were created both to determine and raise the competency of people "doing church. Yet leaders. A useful example of these metrics would be the notion of the average annual pledge. The culture or context for doing church has changed drastically in the last two hundred years. We have moved from Ghristendom to post-Christendom. for example. using the old metrics. What then is reality? Either we have a church that is shrinking in size in North America and Europe and we need to grow those churches. fail to allow that reality to dictate practice or the way we do church. McNeal states that the tough question for those of us in the Jesus-following business is not.

Since its beginnings the church has found different expression in different geographic locales with differing economies (both monetary and relational). Even facing potentially devastating conflict about who should be included within the boundaries of the new Ghristian community. and a failure to honor God-given giftedness in leaders. The same conflict that threatens to wreck our current church relations was no significant impediment to the growth and expansion of the faith in the earliest decades of our church's existence. Such a lack of clear understanding was not the case with the New Testament leaders. In short. pastoring became the practices erected around the reality that God's kingdom had come. our leadership efforts can be easily misdirected and end up producing diminishing mission returns. not by sight" (2 Gor. The church as described in Acts continued to grow and expand. 5:7). our identity. If the latter is reality. The present problem is a failure to understand reality or context. then. overly simplistically. Without having a clear understanding of reality or of the context in which we minister and activate mission. Again.LEADERSHIP FROM THE INSIDE O U T 91 word and deed. human) to address ways that we as Jesus' followers might make a love-spreading difference in the communities in which we live and beyond. teaching. creative. We would. feeding. An understanding of godly leadership is grounded in faith that God is at the very center of our world and work. we might trade organs for guitars or guitars for organs. But we who are following the Jesus Way and attempting to lead others in it know "we walk by faitli. The membership increased as more and more people were exposed to the truth of God's love for them as it was expressed through Jesus and the generosity of the followers of the Way. find the same reality—God's kingdom come. we might very well reallocate our resources (intellectual. economic. After gaining perspective on our . We would not have found the same church in Gorinth that we would have found in Philippi in Paul's time. begin a discernment process within ourselves and within the context of our faith support communities to determine our own unique gifts. rather than shrink and die. the church continued to grow and thrive. Ironically. nurturing. Entering the post-Ghristendom and post-postmodern era and riding a technology explosion and a shifting world economy can be intimidating to church leadership. faith does in fact give us a new way in which to see the world. Healing. we cannot blame the current state of the Anglican Gommunion on actions taken by some portions of our leadership's decision to include or not include certain people. We leaders. however.

92 Anglican Theological Review God-giveu ideutity. where God is perfectly at home aud waitiug for our owu uuique partueriug coutributiou. Hurley aud Gheu fiud themselves today with a chaugiug context. as we eugage that work. they fiud themselves leaders of a multibilliou-dollar veuture. disceruiug if this is the proper coutext for them to exercise their owu uuique gifts. . The time is upou us for the Episcopal Ghurch prudently aud slowly to abaudou the oue-size-fits-all leadership approach. we resist the temptatiou to be focused ou the temporal. aspiriug aud experieuced. fiud themselves in similar shoes. we begiu to examiue our curreut coutext to fiud the startiug place for our piece of exteudiug the kiugdom of heaveu today. YouTube. the thiugs that are passiug away (1 Gor. The Spirit is uudgiug us out of the cloister back iuto the world. Today. Aud. They are uo louger Silicou Valley computer gurus seeldug to share their experieuces with frieuds while developiug art aud program for a software compauy. 7:31). Mauy leaders iu the church. Jawed Karim has left to pursue further study while the other two seek to uuderstaud what the future holds for them aud their relatiouship with this iuteruet iustitutiou.