Intuitive Leadership Conference Reflections

I just finished up at Tim Keel’s Intuitive Leadership Conference here in KC.  It was phenomenal.  God has truly gifted Tim with the poetic ability to put words to the things we are experiencing and feeling.  The conference is a follow up/supplement to Tim’s book which I highly recommend.

Here’s a summary:

In the first session Tim talked about what it means to be lost.  He asserted that being lost is more than just a disorientation of place but also a feeling.  Tim talked about how the more stressed we become the less able we are to orient ourselves to our surroundings and to the reality we find ourselves in.  He continued…

“Is it obvious enough to say that we are leading churches at a time, living at a time, when most of the maps that have been used to orient us have become outdated and that to look at them disorients us even further.  The more we rely on what’s come before the more disorienting it becomes.”


This was a great set-up for why so many of us have struggled with leadership and leadership books and models and programs in the past and perhaps why its important to be re-thinking what leadership means in the time and place we find ourselves NOW.  Indeed in so many ways we are all lost.


He ended the time by talking about the need for us to re-orient ourselves to the places where we are today and asked the open question… “where are you?”


In the next three sessions Tim talked about the ways in which we engage the world and the “sweet spot” of balance we find in the in between of three areas: culture/context; theology/gospel; structures/systems.  In talking about culture and context Tim brought us back to the beauty and reality of the narrative that we find ourselves in.  He spoke about doing the missiological work of truly engaging our culture and context and leading it in creative and imaginative ways. 


I had to miss the theology/gospel session, but gathered that they spent time talking about the need to re-language the presentation of the gospel away from a gospel of escapism (God is going to take us up to heaven, so hang on) to a gospel of engagement (God is at work here already, how can we be a part of helping bringing heaven to earth). 


In talking about structures and systems Tim showed us how most the structures that we have built ministry and pastoral leadership upon were birthed out of times of stability.  But that is not the time we are living in now.  Instead of a time of organization and specilization we are moving into a time of creativity.  In this time we must re-orient ourselves to appropriately engage the world we are in.  He suggests some changes in posture for us in leadership away from just pastor as teacher.  He named:

         From Answers to Questions: A Posture of Learning

         From Head to Heart: A Posture of Vulnerability

         From Spoken Words to Living Words: A Posture of Availability

         From Preparation to Meditation: A Posture of Stillness

         From Control to Chaos: A Posture of Surrender – the question is can we resist temptation to control something before something great comes out of – Chaos is always the necessary pre-condition of creation.

         From Programmer to Environmentalist: a Posture of Cultivation

         From Defensiveness to Creativity: A Posture of Trust

         From Work to Play: A Posture of Joy

         From Resolution to Tension (and Back Again): A Posture of Dependence


In the final session this morning Tim and Brian McLaren shared about leadership.  It was mostly questions and responses and was excellent.  Perhaps the most helpful comments came on the “how do we do this?” question.  Brian encouraged us to be in relationships and to tell our stories and the stories of those we know so that we invite others into the reality and pain of each other.  It is in this compassion for one another that we begin to see the ways in which we are connected and impact one another. 


Great stuff all around.  Of course these simple notes are just an attempt at reporting and are hugely brief and generalized.  Please take the time to read Tim’s book and engage with these ideas at that level. 

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