“Churches are entering a nowhere land that has come into being in the turbulent waters of societal shift. We have become travelers with maps that are outdated and that no longer describe the landscape.” This quote by Len Hjalmarson captures a key issue in church leadership. There are models of leadership and “doing church” that have been used in the past but fall short in today’s world. The problem is that we not only face new challenges, but that our ability to face these challenges can actually be hindered by our past successes. As we chart new ground, we find that referring to the “maps” of the past can keep us from seeking new solutions that may not have been part of our previous leadership vocabulary. Hjalmarson says, “The challenge is to disturb the system in such a way that the desired outcome is more likely.” For those in Christian leadership that do not like to disturb people and just want to keep the peace, this may sound counter intuitive. The fact remains, without some disturbing, others may not even be aware of the challenges and they will not likely seek innovative solutions. Disturbing the system can open dialogue to bring clarity to purpose. “When purpose is clear, focus becomes possible, and management can shift to collaboration and empowerment.” The very act of collaboration and empowerment will be a brand new paradigm for many churches that have traditionally viewed leadership from a top-down, positional system.
A great point made by Hjamlarson is that there has been a focused confusion between filling pews and making disciples. A goal of filling the church with passive spectators had led to a style of leadership that simply does not work if the goal is to make disciples. Making disciples is very organic and happens in relationships. It is not something that we script like a one-hour worship service. Real discipleship cannot be relegated to a 12-week study. It is messy and could be described as orchestrated chaos, but orchestrated by God, not us. In this setting, leadership begins to look different as we step off the map and into the wilderness together. I love the quote from Wheatly and Chodron, “I have realized over time that the real role of a leader is not to control but to mid-wife-to evoke those qualities of commitment, compassion, generosity and creativity that are in all of us to start with.”
The above quote by Wheatly and Chodron provides a good visual of leadership, but they miss a key truth. Rather than seeing God as the source of goodness, creativity, and positive leadership, “They discuss how organizations can acknowledge their confusion and trust in the goodness of the underlying order.” They go on to say; “So many people are realizing that the only way to go through this increasingly crazy time is to focus on ourselves not in a narcissistic way, but understanding that the source of peace and the place to find rest is within.” What they miss is that we are living in a fallen world. As we look into ourselves we find that, yes, we are created in God’s image, but that we were also born in sin. Simply looking into ourselves, we will not find a place of rest. Jesus called us to find rest and peace in him. As we move our leadership “off the map”, we must look to the one who sees beyond our limited human vision and allow him to lead us.
 Leonard Hjalmarson, Broken Futures: Adaptive Challenge and the Church in Transition, Unpublished, Chapter One, 2.
 Ibid., 7
 Leonard Hjalmarson, Leadership in the Chaordic Age, Unpublished, 4.
 Broken Futures, 9.
 Margaret Wheatley & Pema Chodron, “It Starts with Uncertainty,” Shambala Sun, November 1999, 1.
 Ibid., 1.
 Ibid., 2.