Leaders in the future are going to be collaborators. They will understand that working with others builds a sense of ownership in problem-solving and future direction, and they will actively seek out others for conversation and discernment about issues that matter. Congregations that have successfully completed projects or have raised money for a building of their own have learned that inviting members involvement in every stage of the planning is essential to reaching the end goal.
Providing a variety of ways of connecting will come as second nature to the New Leaders, so they’ll use social media, one-on-one conversations, and small and large group settings to engage all who are interested, in the work.
In addition, they’ll understand that having good information is necessary for effective decision-making, so they’ll be sure that people are kept informed in multiple ways—written presentations, small group conversations, town hall meetings, and many other ways.
This is not to say that leaders won’t have their own ideas to put forward. They will, but they won’t force their ideas on others. A good idea becomes even better when people think together, ask questions of each other, and make revisions based on their collaborative conversations and planning.
Leaders will deliberately invite those whose perspectives differ from their own into dialogue and thoughtful reflection. By their invitations to those with a variety of opinions, and by their very fact of interacting, they’ll model for their membership how congregations can be open and accepting of diverse points of view. This can also be a model for collaborative interfaith work with other faith communities. As Francis David said, “We need not think alike to love alike.”