Missional Leaders?

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : October 6, 2004

I’ve noticed that most talk about missional leadership points out what missional leadership IS NOT, instead of what it is–it’s not hierarchical, its not pyramid-shaped, it rejects a clergy/laity distinction, etc. I’d like to put forth what I think missional leadership IS (keep in mind, that these are generalizations, and sometimes there can be exceptions):

Missional Leadership:

* is a steward of the vision, not its creator nor its master

* leads by giving a tangible example of missional living

* focuses on fostering networks of relationships more than on building infrastructure

* recognizes and mobilizes the spiritually gifted, rather than delegating

* helps the community in spirit-led decision making, rather than making decisions for the community

* is plural rather than singular

* is based in function rather than office

* helps people to engage people where they are at, rather than focusing on leading a meeting to draw people from where they are at

* invests in who the Spirit tells them to, not just “top tier” people

* puts ethos development before systems development

* doesn’t equate vision with control

* helps to shape ministry around people, rather than placing people in ministries

Well…these are just a handful of my thoughts on missional leadership. I’d sure love your feedback.

Mark Van Steenwyk is the editor of He is a Mennonite pastor (Missio Dei in Minneapolis), writer, speaker, and grassroots educator. He and his wife Amy have been married since 1997. They are expecting their first child in April.

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One Response to “Missional Leaders?”

  1. blorge on October 6th, 2004 11:36 am

    I think that your post is great and well-timed. I’ve been thinking (and posting) about how important it is to remember that the point of missional churches isn’t merely to draw people into your group. It’s not a war of attrition. It’s not a numbers game. It’s about transforming people and society inside and out.

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