" H e y   A l l "
           Notes from the Vicar of Grace
              inclusion · service · discovery · gratitude
The Rev. Bill Harper

Hey All--


Leading and Following

The cliché is well worn: "lead, follow or get out of the way."  And while it can feel quite satisfying to shout out this command with force and bravado-it's really not an effective model for sustained leadership or for building community.  It's usually an order being given as a kind of warning, and not an invitation to something good and graceful.  And lately I've been wondering  about "good and graceful leadership."

And yes, leadership is a hot topic, isn't it?  Those who write, think, advise on the topic are often in high demand.  The styles and the theories are dizzying.  Often after I read some book or article on the narrower subject of church leadership I wonder how I managed to get this far as a kind of leader in the church.  I don't feel like I have the named skill sets; I can't see my own qualities for leadership.  Strangely, I'm often wondering: "Should I lead?"  "Should I follow?"  "Should I get out of the way?"  It's not always clear.

Following Jesus

I do know, however, at some deep level, that the "leader" I want to follow, the role model for leadership I keep coming back to, is Jesus.  I don't mean that in some pious, pretty way--I just mean that the story of his life shapes how I see my own life, and how I want life itself to be.  Of course I surely wonder how his way of living in the world would measure up against those varied leadership standards we hear about today.  He led with love and challenge and heart; he inspired with hope and a new way of seeing the world; he opened doors and slammed others shut; and yet mostly he led with the simplicity of service to others,  and a kind of unrelenting compassion.  How do I--how do any of us--emulate that?

Graceful Leaders

Well . . . a simple answer might be: any way we can!  And it's with that answer, and through that lens, that I want us to see the honest work of those who lead and serve at Grace--the members of our Bishop's Committee.  As "Trustees" they are entrusted to help us sustain and nurture this "Place of Grace."  They imagine, plan, organize; they gather and care and manage--and I think they do it with heart and compassion.  This Sunday they will be taking the day to work on our behalf--to lead, follow and serve for us.  They need a day of work and retreat together to help them sustain vision and mission for Grace.  They'll begin the day with a blessing from us at the 9:30 service--and I hope that we will bless them. I hope we'll be here to both bless them and thank them.  Then we will send them off to spend the day working to serve this place that matters to all of us.  They want to lead, even as they follow the Spirit--and they will invite us to join them on that journey.  I'm deeply grateful for the time and commitment they share.  I hope we all are.

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