A worldview is a set of claims that purport to be based on ultimate reality.

Revitalizing Leadership: The Story of A Conductorless Orchestra

Posted by ssbg on January 30, 2006


The 12 hour flight from Dhaka to London challenged me to reconsider my theology of purgatory. In spite of the tiredness, boredom and cramped seats I began to reflect on our time in India and Bangladesh. The more I pondered the more I realized the amazing goodness of God. Carol and I had visited India six years ago when morale was at an all-time low. Our team strategy seemed to be withdrawal with dignity. When I asked about a five year plan one joked, “The last person leaving, turn the lights out.?
What a difference this time. Now, India is our fastest growing field. The team is working in partnership with over a dozen groups and moving ahead with innovative even audacious strategies. Our spiritual life conference ended with a time of worship on the beach watching the sunset over the Arabian Sea. Our hearts were filled to overflowing as we sang “Fairest Lord Jesus, ruler of all nations.? We ended our time with fireworks, a bonfire and watched the excited young people swirl around the beach with sparklers.

How can a dying, visionless field be revitalized? It is God from first to last, but how does God do it? In India God used our new director Dr. Aletta. She became deeply disturbed that we were declining just at a time when God was beginning to do a new work in India. She traveled around the world powerfully challenging each of our sending offices, in fact almost giving them an old-fashioned guilt-trip for their neglect of India. Soon a small but talented team of new workers built up in India. Aletta didn’t become a visionary dictator, but worked as a team-player with a growing group of possibility-thinking young people. This group worked together on a vision statement that reflected a real gleams in their eyes, then they together initiated some of the most innovative strategies in our 100 year history. Aletta is a medical doctor, but she recruited talented business people, visionary planners, linguists, computer experts and other medical people. The whole team shared innovative leadership working together to fulfill the vision. No one person had all the gifts needed to revitalize the work in India, but God used the whole Body of spiritually gifted people to create opportunities and generate excitement. The India team is facing discouragements and huge challenges, but they are moving ahead with prayerful vision.
On long sardine-can flights I often take a book, something I should be reading but never seem to find time. I read the book, Leadership Ensemble: Lessons in Collaborative Management from the World’s Only Conductorless Orchestra the story of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra by Harvey Seifter and Peter Economy. The book tells of a small group of people who are passionately dedicated to a vision of excellence, have learned how to listen to each other, share leadership and depend on the creativity of individual members. What a delightful difference from the two extremes of domineering leadership that squelches initiative, and the demoralizing leaderless style that encourages everybody-do-what-is-right-in-your-own-eyes.
I wonder if an important part of the solution to the problem of lethargy in the work of the Kingdom is the need for a gracious revolution in the theology and practice of leadership? What would leadership look like if we radically understood the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers and the doctrine of spiritual gifts in the Body? 

(Leadership Ensemble: Lessons in Collaborative Management from the World’s Only Conductorless Orchestra the story of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra by Harvey Seifter and Peter Economy)


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