I was born in a wonderful little village called Libertville, about two miles west of the south central town of Rio Claro, in Trinidad, one of the twin islands of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. In my village, there were Indians, Africans, Spanish, Chinese and French, and all of their cultures blended into a melting pot of harmony. Every adult was your parent, and every adult was your leader. Somehow, back then, nearly every adult was a decent enough person to whose community leadership a parent could entrust their child’s development. Those were my beginnings in leadership development, and I did not know it.
There was a handful of schools to which the children in the village attended. All of them but one were in Rio Claro: the Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Hindus, and Presbyterians all ran schools with grants from the government. The Muslims had one. It was two doors away from my home. That was the one my parents chose to send me and my four siblings, deciding against making us walk the two miles to the other schools as a Catholic family across the road did. We got a pretty good education there. It was there I learned the fundamentals of respect for positions that were not my own; but I did not know it. After five years there, and one year in secondary school, my family moved to San Fernando, the industrial capital of Trinidad and Tobago, and the nation’s second city.
I have always known and participated in the church. It played no small role in shaping my life. Moving from the little church in Rio Claro and then the more sophisticated city one in San Fernando as a mere teen, I developed a love for music, began studying it, and playing it in church. I also began to be exposed to leadership roles: musician, youth leader, church school secretary. After I completed high school, I headed off to the islands of Barbados and then Jamaica, for tertiary level education and seminary.
What followed next, are thirty-four years in an array of pastoral, denominational, national, and educational responsibilities and pursuits. Although I have graduated from educational institutions five times, I am no “finished product”; instead, I continue to learn in one of the best arenas for learning: the public space.
Whether it is interactions on social media, or in the church community or in seminars or other gatherings, I look forward to engaging with others in pursuit of the excellence of life which can only be yours when it is mine, and mine when it is yours. I want to know that when I shall have come to the end of my days, somebody, and some institution, might say, “his living was not in vain.” I hope you’ll give me the opportunity to join you, even for moments, in pursuit of that excellence of life which a significant man once called “Abundant Life”, one aspect of which we can glimpse and gain through the partnerships I imagine we could build, through Friday Leads.
Dysfunction. Anyone who has sojourned through congregations or denominations would agree that these are not immune to dysfunction. These holy organizations often eschew the standards upheld by secular organizations. It matters not that those “profane” or “worldly” processes accomplish those organizations’ mission, and serve humanity well — all within sound ethical boundaries. Consequently, many church organizations deny themselves the best practices of better organized entities. Their leaders think they have nothing to learn from secular leadership theory and practice. They fail to realize that not every leadership or organizational practice, portrayed in the Bible, is healthy or appropriate for our times. And Lead Us Not Into Dysfunction pursues the conviction that church organizations, and their leaders can perform far better than they do. The book explores the causes of anything from mediocrity to dysfunction in church organizations, and outlines several helpful measures that congregations and denominations may embrace to secure organizational and leadership health. This book is a must have for every pastor, church leader, denominational leader, seminarian, and leadership and organizational dynamics student.
I use intriguing, humorous and riveting stories of actual pastoral, congregational, and denominational experiences, to demonstrate the mediocrity, ineffectiveness, misbehavior, and toxicity, all of which frequently descend upon congregations, denominations, and their members and leaders. I show how such church organizations are left beleaguered, discouraged, and fully led into dysfunction. I examine many of the causes for these organizational maladies, and offer the best leadership and organizational practices as solutions and corrections.
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