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October 12, 2005


Eric Beach

Denise, my wife, is a teacher of nurses and has recently taken on a course in leadership in nursing at the RCN. One of the ideas that she has talked to me about is the idea that there are leaders and there are managers and that there is a difference between the two. In my role at work I act as a leader - I move things on probably by getting people talking together in the sort of way that is talked about on the Kester website. But I am not a manager - shame really because it means less pay! [But perhaps I shouldn't be thinking that way!! ;-) ]. And I have no real desire to be a manager - there are others who do that much better, people who are political animals, who are happy to crunch numbers, who will take decisions and make ideas work. Me, I'm more of an ideas man who identifies what needs to be done - who has the vision.

What I'm wondering is whether the church could learn something from this. The early church had the apostles and prophets and it had the deacons. Were they making a distinction between leaders and managers? And do we tread on dangerous ground when we expect our 'ministers' to be 'do it all' people; men and women who are both leaders AND managers?


I've been reading A Short History of Christianity recently, and was interested in the character Pope Gregory the Great.

It seems to me, here is a man in the middle of some of the hugest ecclesiastical power-struggles in history. Where you have the Romish church conducting itself as an Imperial super-power.

And there is a man who tries to flee town to avoid being made Pope. A man who, when written to by the Alexandrian patriarch then berates him for addressing him in too lofty terms. Who first coined the term "a servant of all servants of God."

That's a very good and very clear model of leadership. It's not at all suprising that Gregorian monasticism survives today.

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