Our Fellowship recently hosted our Annual Congregational Meeting and each month we participate in a Congregational Forum. Those attending have expressed satisfaction at the level of felt connection and expressed communication. This is a demonstration of community interactive dialogue and shared leadership, the topic of this month’s article.
Shared leadership is easier said than done. Our leadership culture has primarily been focused on the leader. Strong, talented and skillful individuals are important to the leadership of a successful Congregation. Yet we all have been witnesses to the detrimental effects of habituated hierarchical structures in which we were raised, and in which we continue to live. That one-up/one-down model no longer works. The future demands that we transcend that reality by evolving new models of interactive dialogue that distribute leadership.
Shared leadership requires shared values. When everyone buys into the basis for our community, it’s easier to move forward in collaboration. At San Gabriel we have defined our unifying values and must follow them to fully participate in developing our own local community. Our Vision is: Together we are building beloved community where all are valued. Our Mission is the pathway to that Vision. It states: We are a Congregation that welcomes all, promotes personal and spiritual growth, and works for a just, peaceful and sustainable world.
Shared leadership models interdependence. As parts of the web of life, we are hard-wired for collaboration, for building community, and for evolution throughout our lifespan — from the time we are children nurtured into adventurous juveniles, to becoming parents and householders, to resting as respected and guiding elders. Throughout life’s passages, it is important that we focus on what we have in common, rather than on what divides us!
Shared leadership brings hope. Our hope at San Gabriel is in cooperation with processes that demonstrate and reinforce collaboration. May our Fellowship become an innovative force in this paradigm shift in leadership by waking up to a new way of being together in covenant, connecting in relationship and across our differences.. The best conversations connect us directly, hand in hand, face to face, eye to eye and heart to heart. I invite us to make a priority of regularly participating in shared leadership through our Congregational Meetings and Monthly Forums.
With respect and care,
Rev. Mark Skrabacz