The nature of leadership, authority, governance, and responsibility in the Catholic Church has been debated since the Apostles began sending out delegates and anointing presbyters and deacons to help serve the growing Christian community. The Church has historically relied on clergy and religious to further its mission, as well as dedicated laypeople; however, with the emergence of “Nones“ (religiously unaffiliated young people) and the decline (and challenges) in religious vocations, a gap has developed between the expectations of the faithful and the ability of the Church to fill many of its non-ordained leadership roles.
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and power are his.
He causes the changes of the times and seasons, establishes kings and deposes them.
He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who understand.”
Having a “mental model” or common framework is helpful in establishing expectations, skills, and competencies around leadership. Scripture brings the lessons of leadership to life through the image of the cedar tree. The cedar of Lebanon is an effective way to contemplate the vocation, mission, and development of leaders in the Catholic Church.
The first post in this series introduced the concept of Scripture-Based Leadership as a way to develop individuals, parishes, and ministries. This post will dive deeper into this concept, exploring why all baptized Christians have a duty to become leaders.
The Need for Catholic Leadership Development
Leadership development is increasingly implemented today in business, government, and academic institutions, but sadly, it is rarer in the Church. While generic “turn-key” leadership programs are available, Catholic parishes, dioceses, and organizations can use another approach that is grounded in the Word of God.