Who is the leader?


Just read an interesting article about youth today and their dislike of top-down authority and leadership structures and a preference for peer-peer leadership (which honestly I believe isn’t leadership).
A few questions to pose:

  • Who has the final say in the decision making process in peer-peer?
  • Who is responsible for mistakes? (i.e. where does the buck stop)
  • From the view of Christian leadership, how does this affect the way youth look to their leaders?
  • What will it mean for a new leader to lead the kids they are responsible for if they have this idea of leadership?
  • Will this emphasise the idea of Jesus as best buddy and reduce Jesus as Lord?

I have a few answers in my head but keen to see where discussion goes. Will post some thoughts in comments later.

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One Response to Who is the leader?

  1. Joel says:

    Erich, I think you confuse the issue.

    The youth of today still want and require leadership – this is evidenced with high levels of support amongst the young for the new generation of political leaders (be that K-Rudd or Obama). Ditto in business – much of youth understands that there is a lot of knowledge to be gained from their managers, from the business leaders. There is no learning if you repeat mistakes that others have already made – that’s just sheer stupidity.

    At the same time the new work environment, with such a heavy use of technology, has inverted the traditional power structures within business. We’re seeing new media (and I loath that term, but it’s out there with a broadly accepted definition) companies become bigger than blue chip ones, providing services that change people’s lives every day. These are the results primarily of the youth – those who have grown up immersed in the technology and chosen to become the geeks (forget “the meek shall inherit the earth” – it’s “the geeks shall inherit the earth”). As such when you enter a workplace you have an important skillset that your the older employees around you may not. What they therefor want is to be respected and consulted – they do have a valuable part to play. Additionally they (we?) definitely do recognise (or if they don’t it needs to be verbally beaten into them) that with a more horizontal approach to management you must also take more responsibility. So while there has been a breaking down of traditionally bureaucratic nightmares of business structures a greater share of responsibility has been transferred to the younger generation than ever before. They still want and desire leadership – but it is no longer the command and control style of leadership so embedded in our minds as the only way leadership can work (and inherent in structured religions that you were alluding to) – but rather a consultative one where inputs are not only welcomed but sought on all topics.

    In terms of the Christian faith, I don’t think that this is unlike Christ and the twelve apostles. You have the leader whose leadership is shown by the higher level of responsibility, but “under that” (and Jesus didn’t think himself above those around him in an egotistical sense) you definitely had a group of people whose leadership structure was essentially flat, collaborative and consultative.

    What that means for a Church depends on how the Church defines it’s doctrine. Therein lies the beauty of theology – for every opinion X there’s a counter to it Y, and invariably both can be argued from the religious text of choice.

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