By John W. Vest, Visiting Assistant Professor of Evangelism at Union Presbyterian Seminary.
One of the assignments in my Post-Congregational Evangelism class this week was to read Seth Godin’s Tribes and then answer the following question: What does spiritual leadership look like in a post-Christendom environment of fewer congregations, shrinking memberships, and limited jobs in established churches?
Godin argues that in today’s world credentials and titles are less important than they used to be. Leadership is not given, it is asserted. Everyone has the potential to gather and lead a tribe. I think this is an important insight for future (and current) faith leaders who can no longer expect a traditional church job when they earn their degree and are ready to receive a call. Post-Christendom ministry requires the kind of visionary, entrepreneurial, and heretical leadership described by Godin.
My students have written fantastic essays in response to this prompt. I encourage you to read them all.
- Rachel Bauer: Courage with a Touch of Insanity
- Jean Chung: Secular Business or Biblical Ministry?
- Anna Cooke: New Kinds of Connections
- Owen Gray: Stand Up and Be Heard
- Gary Hatter: Target Audiences and Sustainability
- Trent Holden: From Church to Spiritual Tribe
- Pam Hrncir: The Faith that Built the System
- Seth Lovell: Confidence in God’s Future
- Amanda Pine: Hang in There, Henny Penny
- Matthew Messenger: Breaking the Rules and Taking Risks
- Melissa Miller: Leaders instead of Managers
- Sara Sommers: Sheepwalking
- Nathan Taylor: Episode VI—Return of the Prophet
- Lauren Voyles: Focus More on Faith than Religion
- Matthew White: Meaningful Leadership, Lateral Leadership
- Marcy Wright: Follow the Heretical Leader