Using biblical texts, ELCA seminary presidents led discussions on leadership at the Sept. 29-Oct. 3 Conference of Bishops meeting in Chicago. In small groups, the presidents and bishops reflected on leadership qualities and how to identify and train leaders. Many participants emphasized that leaders should be creative, prophetic and relational.
“I’d like someone from a seminary faculty to come to my synod and ride around with me to see what’s happening in synods,” said Bishop Jon Anderson, Southwestern Minnesota Synod. Emphasizing the relational aspect, he said parishioners “don’t care how much you know till they know you love them.”
In his report to the bishops, ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson spoke about leadership too. Reflecting on remarks made at a memorial service calling author Saul Bellow “a first-class ‘noticer,’ ” Hanson said: “That’s a dimension of leadership to which we’re all called: to be first-class noticers. [We are] to be first-class noticers of what gospel we are proclaiming these days, and that’s not a given; to be first-class noticers of what God is up to in the world and how the Holy Spirit gifts us to be part of that world; [and] to be first-class noticers of the context in which we live.”
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