lesson 3: be willing to lead

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : November 11, 2006

Us emerging types have difficulties with leadership. We long for things to be decided by community and we tend to hate the idea that some folks are more mature than others.

But you can’t do discipleship without a spiritual parent. This is why Stanley Hauerwas affirms priesthood, by the way. You’d think the guy would be all about communal discernment and shared leadership. But he’s not, because only disciples can adequately make decisions and read Scripture communally and whatnot. And discipleship doesn’t happen naturally. A bunch of immature people do a bad job of discipling one another. You need someone to be a spiritual parent. This doesn’t mean that affirm the role of clergy–I’m still against the distinction between clergy and laity. But I do support the role of spiritual parent / discipler. And I wish I had been more comfortable discipline others instead of letting things often fall to the lowest common denominator at Missio Dei.

Mark Van Steenwyk is the editor of He is a Mennonite pastor (Missio Dei in Minneapolis), writer, speaker, and grassroots educator. He lives in South Minneapolis with his wife (Amy), son (Jonas) and some of their friends.

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