When ecology is discussed, most people understand it to be that of concern for the environment, biology or having to do with the ecosystem. Though important topics, when I view ecology in leadership, I draw from the natural balance of things and as a sense of timely renewal.
On the question “What will it take to create healthy churches on a not so healthy planet?”, Snyder and Scandrett (2011) discussed that to be renewed, one must be open to diagnosis. They continued to share that this diagnosis offer insights on what ails us, what ails the church, and what ails the world. The point I most appreciate in this research design, is that the authors lead from the individual perspective, before moving into analysis of establishment and global community.
Minsters what ailments are holding you back from truly stepping up to the responsibilities carefully crafted for you? Is it pride, ego, greed, vanity, spitefulness, a lack of integrity, and so on? I ask these questions, not because I am trying to stir the pot, I ask because in my work, I come across these behavioral patterns more often than I would like to. And, though they can be shocking, I stand back to understand better, the real story behind such surprising interactions. My modus operandi is to then assist the pastor in the ecological leadership process to establish natural balance in faith, life, and work; the human and spiritual existence.
As leaders in your church you have the responsibility of interconnected creation; to bring forth a sense of unity within your congregation and communities. The Bible speaks on the importance of this.
“Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the son does.” John 5:19 (NIV)
This verse as daily narrative, reminds us that the pastor should never believe that she or he can do it all. This thought process is vicious and can tear down the walls of the church. It destroys! Even Jesus understood the importance of natural balance in leadership. Diagnosis determines what needs to be healed. Likewise, a misdiagnosis, when not treated can have detrimental consequences. Jesus is the ultimate healer. His good news and quiet determination offers Missio Dei (the healing of creation as the mission of God).
Don’t become so stuck in your ways that you are missing out on reconstruction of the mind and spirit. Allow the natural balance of Christ to encompass your every being. Your calling is his calling! Rid yourself of individualistic consciousness. Accept the core ecology in leadership that success can come by cleaning out the rubbish (minimizing efforts), watering your own grass (build congregation and community), recycling what worked in the beginning (know and understand your roots), and turning off the lights (self-care and rest). Yes, I know that there are many other drivers toward success, but here, I chose to highlight the basics; things that are often forgotten.
Progress takes planning, stepping backwards to move forward. Find the problem, treat the problem, heal, and start again.
Rev. M. Charlotte Oliver
Founding President & CEO
Executive Pastor| Church Consultant
Snyder, H.A. & Scandrett, J. (2011). Salvation means creation healed: The ecology of sin and grace. Overcoming the divorce between earth and heaven. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books