“If serving is below me, then leadership is beyond me.” Anonymous
Stewardship Advocates has been richly blessed to work with hundreds of bishops, priests and deacons in their exercise of parish leadership. Close observation suggests that effective Orthodox leaders manifest a similar grasp of task priorities. The list below represents the best effort of Stewardship Advocates to identify these. Of course, each bishop, priest and deacon will have their own list of primary tasks, which may vary considerably from this one. However, it may be useful to compare the The Ten Tasks of Effective Parish Leadership below with one’s own task list. The sequence of the Ten Tasks do not necessarily reflect their relative importance. This may vary from day to day, though some seem necessary for every day.
1) Most days, most of the time hosting the indwelling presence of Father, Son and Holy Spirit within the nous of one’s heart.
2) Affirming the gospel mission and the values of the parish as expressed contextually in the unique identity of the parish.
3) Envisioning and articulating the future of the parish in bold, inspiring and compelling terms through sermons, teaching and writing.
4) Motivating others through encouragement, example and service.
5) Managing well by attending to tasks in the right priority at the right time and by following through on commitments.
6) Achieving a workable level of parish unity by standing above the internal fray, politics, nationalities, clans and any other artificial division of human society and holding the Kingdom of God as the highest priority.
7) Explaining, teaching and demonstrating faithful Orthodox worship and faithful Orthodox practice.
8) Accepting with humility the difficult task of serving as an eschatological symbol while remaining an authentic and approachable person.
9) As appropriate, representing the parish before the local neighborhood and the larger community.
10) Leading renewal, revitalization, recovery and repentance – i.e., embracing salvific change, even if it means being dragged kicking and screaming from one state of glory to the next.