This is the second in a short series of posts that attempt to answer the question: Why should Christian faith communities practice innovative leadership?
The last post suggested that economic and other practical realities may force innovation upon us, but we should embrace the positive innovations that result from those external factors.
Another, more strategic practice-based reason for innovation is the driving force of mission. Mission re-frames all leadership structures as means to that end.
In their survey of Christian leadership models and practices, Banks and Ledbetter (2004) note the bewildering array of leadership models in the Christian tradition. Various denominations, traditions, or local churches interpret the Scriptures differently in light of the missional opportunities in their particular context. The result is that each group has ended up adapting and adopting innovative leadership models and strategies that best help them fulfill their mission.
In hindsight they may seek and find biblical or other warrant for these practices. But, if form truly follows function, then those organizations that are ruthlessly focused on function (i.e. mission) will sacrifice, modify, or invent forms in order to accomplish their objectives.
I am not arguing that mission trumps everything, especially means. I am suggesting, however, that a healthy sense of mission may cause us to notice, appreciate, and even adopt options previously unconsidered–and that can be a very good thing.