Summoned to Lead

sumoned.jpegLeaders are neither born nor made. Leaders are summoned. They are called into existence by circumstances, and those who rise to the occasion are leaders. A retelling of the Ernest Shackleton story to showcase the fine arts of leadership that emerged from his failed expedition. (From the Zondervan Website)

Initially I struggled to engage with this book. It is drastically different than any other leadership material that I have read previously. While much of my previous reading on leadership has left me uninspired at best, I think it has somehow shaped my expectations of what leaders are going to communicate about leadership. Summoned to Lead, however was quite different. It wasn't the typical stuff about the divine fusion of vision and mission and 10 practical steps about how to become a effective leader. It wasn't a business model that substituted the word "kingdom" for "marketplace" or "church growth" for "profit margin." Instead, Sweet builds his work on leadership around the metaphor of "acoustic leadership" as opposed to "visionary leadership." The basic idea behind this metaphor is that Jesus gave us the Great Commission which is his vision for the Church. Sweet argues that the Church spends far too much time looking for a vision statement of its own when clearly Jesus is the vision. He argues that visions are heard, not seen. Like the T-Rex in Jurassic Park, by the time you see it, it’s too late. Moses heard the burning bush before he saw it. We often don’t see because we can’t hear.

Sweet maintains the "acoustic leadership" metaphor throughout the book, sometimes to its detriment, but he comes to some helpful considerations for leadership in the church. He says that we are to be Missional, Relational, Incarnational (MRI)

We are Missional which means we have to get away from the idea that the Church is to be a "safe" place for Christians to take refuge. Sweet asks, "Are you taking risks? Is your church a safe place to take risks?"

  • We are not venture capitalists, we are venture conceivers.
  • The ultimate risk is not to take any.
  • The more risk we take, the more likely we are to survive.
  • “A church that should be bursting with creativity is basking in boredom.”
  • We need a theology of risk, which is best found in the parable of the talents.
  • We are Relational

  • Many churches are not designed for relationships. The more vicarious our relationships are online, the more we hunger for "real" relationships.
  • In the church, we have become propositional communities, not relational communities. And we are some of the last ones to “get” this.
  • The world steals our best lines because we don’t know we have them. Chase Bank: “The right relationship is everything.”
  • We are Incarnational

  • Dwell withing the culture until you find your dwelling in that culture.
  • Like water, take the shape of whatever you’re in without changing the nature of what you are.
  • There are certain aspects of the gospel that we will never understand until it is incarnated in culture.
  • All cultures need Christ incarnated… even postmodern culture. We must open ourselves to receive Christ in all these cultures.
  • Colonial is taking Jesus so you can be like me. Incarnational is finding Jesus already there.

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