From The Living Church:
What’s wrong with this picture? What is wrong with this picture is that it is not the complete picture.
Max DePree, author of Leadership Jazz and Leadership is an Art, says that the first task of the leader is to define reality. The problem with this quote from our Presiding Bishop””and she has said much the same thing in several venues””is that although there are places of health and vitality in The Episcopal Church, this assessment amounts to no more than happy talk.
What is “happy talk”? John Kotter, professor of leadership at Harvard Business School, says that too much happy talk from senior leaders can lull everyone into a sense of complacency. Mr. Kotter states that the failure of leaders to establish a (healthy) sense of urgency is one of several reasons that organizations fail.
A survey of The Episcopal Church taken a couple of years ago, “Faith Communities Today,” asked congregations to complete a survey which asked questions similar to those found on the parochial reports. When the compilers of the survey compared the completed surveys with those of that congregation’s parochial reports, it was determined that the survey results contradicted the parochial report data. Only those churches that were growing 10 percent or more per year “told the truth.” The vast majority of churches reported that they were doing better than their parochial reports indicated. Happy talk.
The task of the leader of an organization in a time of crisis is two-fold: to be a non-anxious presence, and to develop a sense of urgency. A look at the baptized membership and average Sunday attendance in The Episcopal Church indicates that we are a denomination in decline….