I came across this lovely Henri Nouwen quote this morning:
‘In solitude we remember that community is not a common ideology, but a response to a common call. In solitude we realize that community is not made but given.’
This coupled with my reading of Roxburgh and Romanuk is helping to think about the balance between the leader as maker of things and the leader as cultivator of an environment in which things grow.
We hatch all kinds of strategies to make community but, as Nouwen says, community is given. I take that to mean, given by God. I further reckon that it happens as people grow to love one another.
As a leader I can't get my people to love one another any more than I can push water uphill with a fork. As a leader all I can do - with others - is create the environment in which that love, and hence that community, can grow.
I guess this is about preaching and modelling, allowing God's Word to shape people's lives through the faithful unpacking of it Sunday by Sunday and being an example of how that Word shapes my life and the lives of those around me.
Hence Paul's prayer in Philippians 1:3-11: I wonder how often and how honestly we can pray these words for our churches?!