Wednesday, June 30, 2004

pastor as chaos agent

I am working on a chaos theory of leadership:
the theory is that the role of a pastoral leader is to cause chaos.

this is based on a fear of domesticated religion
on a personal distaste of images of gentle Jesus meek and mild
on a concern that given time, most systems find an inertia of their own
and on my PhD musings that so often discontinuity is the space for growth.

so if the people of God are meant to be pilgrim,
and meant to be growing,
then should not the role of a pastoral leader be to promote chaos?

Posted by steve at 04:29 PM


  1. wow … so that’s what I’ve been doing for four years? (of should have done without feeling guilty) 🙂 and yet the internal chaos is real as well … very interesting insight!

    Comment by Sivin Kit — July 1, 2004 @ 6:30 am

  2. If the theories say that Chaos is that space of tumultous change that occurs between periods of relative stability – then I agree that a Pastor’s role is to promote chaos, otherwise how will change occur.

    Comment by Janet — July 1, 2004 @ 7:23 am

  3. many believe that “challenging the status quo” is a characteristic of the best leaders. (e.g. Collins and Porras in “Built to Last”)

    Comment by stephen shields — July 1, 2004 @ 9:34 am

  4. Been pondering this for a few days Steve. Very creative. thanks. Drew me to Eugene Peterson’s own thoughts on “the mess” as he writes in one of his books for pastors. Creative mess as the bedrock of pastoral work. Not a pleasant message for the neat and orderly efficient-religion experts amongst us, which sadly, from time to time, includes me.

    Comment by finker — July 3, 2004 @ 10:59 pm

  5. Have you come across chaordic leadership by the founder of Visa international? His name escaped me at the moment.

    Comment by phil — July 5, 2004 @ 9:06 pm

  6. Mate. I like it. It resonates. I also wonder if this pastoral approach (pastor as Prophet / Apostle)doesn’t in practice need to worked out as part of the “five-fold” / leadership team gift mix (thinking here of Roxburgh) given that “change” (which chaos cetainly introduces)introduces all kinds of human and relational stresses (pastor needed), the help of theological and cultural perspective – helping people make sense of what is happening and how to lean into the wind of the Spirit (teacher needed)…just musing aloud…reflecting on practicalities (nneds of congregation and leaders within that congregation)

    Comment by Paul Fromont — July 6, 2004 @ 9:17 am

  7. Yes, I agree. I blogged about this further the next day, with a quote from Lion, Witch, Wardrobe, Aslan/pastor, as both safe and good. Maggi Dawn asked if a person can be both. I think so. Perhaps it is better to think of the team, rather than the person, as both.

    By the way, I have hermeneutical problems with the way that Ephesians 4; 5 fold ministry, is enshrined as a-contextual way of being in leadership. In reality, the NT has many ways of leading. Why do we give prominence to one?

    Comment by steve — July 12, 2004 @ 10:12 am

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