Supporting laos ministry ...

the Christian ministry of the whole people of God.

Laos ministry and the Wizard of Oz

This week's eReflection (and the next) is kindly provided by Andy Griffiths, who has equipped lay people in three European countries, and now works in Galleywood in Essex, UK.

What kind of leadership does laos ministry demand?  Dorothy, not the Wizard of Oz.  Let me explain.

I still meet Christian leaders who feel their job is analogous to that of an Old Testament Priest.  They are the ones who find God's will for the community, then they come down the mountain and implement his directives.  Laos ministry - the ideal of a church where everyone is accepted and welcomed as a minister as well as a member - will never be realised until leaders stop trying to be heroes and start listening to the people.  Not just listening to them because they have needs and questions, but listening to them because they have answers - the congregation (especially the most prayerful, most bible-saturated and most marginalised) are likely to be those through whom the voice of God is heard.  That's the point of Acts 2 - we're all prophets now.

So an e-meditation by Brian McLaren caught my attention.  McLaren points out that Wizard of Oz surprised and delighted a 1940s world enamoured with Superman, with the Lone Ranger, with Great Men.  “It struck me that by exposing the Wizard as a fraud,” says McLaren, “the film was ... displaying an early pang of discontent with its dominant model of larger-than-life leadership.  And it made me wonder what image of leadership would replace the great Wizard.  The answer, of course, appeared in the next scene.  No, it wasn't the lion, the scarecrow, or the tin man. It was Dorothy.”

Dorothy is the wrong gender (female) and the wrong age (young).  Rather than being a person with all the answers, who knows what's up and where to go and what's what, she is herself lost, a seeker, often bewildered, and vulnerable.  The wizards’ days are numbered, we're all looking for Dorothy.  I've met some.  I recently worked for a church where the most obvious ‘natural leader’ was an unordained, unsalaried housewife with a fist-full of questions but an ability to unite people and gain their loyalty precisely by NOT dominating and mastering them.  She couldn't lead a church on her own, of course - but that's part of the point.  There's only room for one in the Wizard's control booth, and there's only room for one at the top of many churches’ org charts.  Dorothys find other needy people, and they set off singing down the yellow brick road together.

If laos ministry can throw up some Dorothys, not so much Problem-Solvers as Quest Creators, not so much Apologists as Apologisers, not so much Knowers as Seekers, maybe we'll find our way home.

Yours in Christ

Andy Griffiths

Vincent Donovan's vogue book Christianity Rediscovered tells of his struggle to bring the 'naked gospel' to Tanzania's Maasai.  The eLearning course Mission: Tradition confronts the Future uses the book and the Acts of the Apostles to help you explore mission, ministry and church in a post-modern age.

Wonder what 'holiness' looks like in 21st Century hectic life?  Or what the essence of Jesus' ministry was?  Or how to live in the image of God?  Why not join one of the learning communities that start their journeys on September 17th?  Follow this link for more info.

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