Another excerpt from Will Willimon’s book “Pastor.” I began this series many months ago, sharing excerpts from this great book on the vocation of pastor. Now, I’m back reading the book for a class I’m taking in November. -JB
“A number of years ago, James MacGregor Burns wrote a classic book on leadership in which he contrasted two types of leaders, the “transactional leader” and the “transformative leader.” The transactional leader discerns the needs of followers, and performs leadership as a set of expectations to be met, a series of jobs to be done. Leadership is thus a transaction between the expectations of the followers and the meeting of those expectations by the leader.
Transformative leadership seeks more than merely managing the felt needs of the followers. The transformative leader elevates followers to a higher level, refusing to be either trapped or driven by the conventional expectations of followers, calling followers to a larger purpose — a higher moral commitment — thus transforming the organization and its members. Social progress requires that there be a leader who is willing to risk disapproval and even rejection in the interest of transformation. In a Christian contexts, I would say that being a transformative leader means believing that God is always making all things new, even us, and that conversion, change, transformation is typical, expected gift of the faith.”
“…Adaptation means movement, transformation, change and from my observation, far too many pastors are too willing to settle into present arrangements, too willing 5o manage the church as it is, rather than stretch themselves and risk envisioning the church as God intends it to be.”
“We must rise above being a program-driven church to being a faith-forming community” (283).
“We have forsaken charismatic images of the church for bureaucratic ones” (283).
“The time has passed when there was a generation who enjoyed simply keeping the machinery going, coming to church, going through the motions. A new generation of activists, when they think of mission, do not think of sending their money to someone in New York or Nashville to do mission, but rather want face-to-face, self-involved service to others. People want to have their lives caught up in something greater than themselves” (283).
Read earlier excerpts from Willimon here.