I just stumbled onto an article by Rich Tatum of PneumaBlogger renown over at BlogRodent that touches on ways we leaders can improve the process we go through when we make and announce major ministry decisions. It deals with the recent, abrupt resignation of Thomas Trask from the senior spot in the American branch of the Assemblies of God denomination.
If you read Rich’s post all the way to the end, past his speculation regarding what political maneuvering or other considerations may or may not have prompted Trask’s recent step, which is not of interest to me personally since I am not A/G and have no plans to be, you will find he expresses some interesting thoughts about the way the Apostle Paul and his peers interacted regarding a critical ministry decision in the Book of Acts. Given the number of times in my life that I have seen Christian leaders announce very drastic ministry changes with a simple, "I feel this to be the leading of the Holy Spirit," I urge you to think about what Rich says.
Let me hasten to add that, although I have never met the ex-General Superintendent, I have heard wonderful things about him over the years. He may well have extensively and confidentially processed his pending action among a closed circle of peers before announcing it officially, along the lines of the "Pauline model" Rich has sketched out. Be that as it may, for me the greatest personal "take-away" is that each of us who serve as a spiritual leader needs to continually keep in mind just how far-reaching the consequences of our personal decisions are in the lives and ministries of those we serve.
In another vein entirely, reading this and Rich’s other posts about the recent General Council of the Assemblies of God caused me to remember the fact that blog posts on the internet had also substantively impacted the agenda this year at the national convention of the Southern Baptists, another leading evangelical denomination in America. For instance, check out the FutureAG blog hosted by such leaders as Mark Batterson, Paul Stewart, Brad Leach, Jeff Leake, and Tony Farina, especially the bullet point notes of Bryan Jarrett's presentation at the 2005 General Council, and the archives of SBCOutpost.com.
In my view, the astonishing influence of the internet on very weighty deliberations in these two denominations this year highlights the drastically different ways younger people process organizational decisions as compared to their elders. For more of my thoughts on this sea-change in what is perceived to be acceptable process that we all must come to grip with as we lead church groups in conducting their affairs, including the growing desire for greater openness and public debate in all levels of organizational life, see my earlier post entitled, “Generation Gap.”
I would love to hear your thoughts...!