Leadership: Defining Reality AND Hope

by Jacob Juncker

Like the post yesterday, I wrote this over a year ago.  I don’t know why I never posted it; at any rate, I find myself asking the question at the end often.  It seems as relevant today as it did back then.  I hope you’ll wrestle with me: what does faithful leadership look like?


“The signs of outstanding leadership appear primarily among the followers,” said Max De Pree in his book Leadership Is an Art. He also added, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.” [1]

There’s no denying where we are as a Church.  The United Methodist Church (in the United States) is in rapid decline.  Once the largest and fastest growing denomination, we’re now hemorrhaging 2000 attendees a week.[2]  The church is aging, homogenizing, and dying.  We are rent with division.  The recent trials of clergy and the pending trial of a bishop have put our internal fighting on the center stage of global news.

With all of this in mind, I can’t help but ask as a clergy person, an elder in the United Methodist Church–one who is called and ordained to preach the Word, offer the sacraments, and order the life of the church for the sake of Christ’s mission and ministry…

What does faithful leadership look like? in The United Methodist Church? and in the congregation I serve?

It seems to me that if we could begin to answer that question, we might be able to change our reality, making disciples of Jesus Christ and transforming the world.

[1] MaxDe Pree quoted by Bishop John R. Schol in “Becoming a Spiritual Leader” at ChurchLeadership.com <http://www.churchleadership.com/leadingideas/issues/pdf/061011_article.pdf> Accessed December 3, 2013.

[2] Dottie Excobedo-Frank and Rudy Rasmus in Jesus Insurgency: The Church Revolution from the Edge (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2012), 5.