Monday, May 3, 2010

I Need You to Lead Me

I’ve never read a book quite like “Tribes” by Seth Godin.  I’m usually not one for books on leadership.  But the subtitle grabbed my attention: We need you to lead us.

It takes a lot of courage to admit that you are a follower and need to be led. Martin Luther talked about the “priesthood of all believers.”  I think he realized that he could not do it all.  He needed help.  I can relate to that.  I need lots of help, in many different areas of my life.

But Godin didn’t spend much time talking about how to follow.  Instead, most of the time he gave examples of people who lead “tribes,” and how you too can lead a tribe.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about leadership it’s that it’s really hard.  I don’t know of too many people who lead out of choice…seriously.  Pastors care called to congregations.  That is, they are called to lead.  Sometimes they don’t want to, but the Lord has need of it, so what is one to do?  Take the prophet Jeremiah, for example.  He wasn’t chomping at the bit to lead.  But resistance to God was futile.

In the context of faith, even a leader is still following God.  Learning how to follow is at least as important as learning how to lead.  I believe there is one whom is worthy to follow.

We need you to lead us.


Anonymous said...

Wes, nice post. Godin says that people gather in tribes not because they're centrist but because they take a position. How do you see this in light of your faith? Should persons of faith take positions? Won't that exclude others?

Wesley Menke said...

Great question Bob. Godin uses the term "partisan" which I think has a different connotation than taking a position. Leaders must take a position, that is part of leading. I think that at times it may be centrist, at others it may lean one way or the other as one's conscience is bound. If we are interested in a "Big Tent" christianity, then I would hesitate on being overly partisan. But that's just my leadership style.

Angelina Duell said...

Hey Wes,
Appreciated the Stark Trek reference. I think what you had to say about leading it definitely important. I think another aspect of tribes that Godin didn't take into account was how what the leader says is translated among tribe members. In a Christian sense G-d says "this" to leader and leader says "this" to tribe as leader understands it. Tribe member says "thas" to other tribe member.

I think that really complicates things.

Wesley Menke said...

That's a good point Angelina. When does the message get lost in translation? I suppose that the advances in technology are supposed to help preserve the message. But another question is: are followers allowed to reinterpret a message in light of their own vested interests. How far does this freedom go? Can someone be expelled from the tribe for being a heretic? Then this heretic would supposedly form a new tribe. Do tribes always metastasize?