Item description for The Web of Women's Leadership: Recasting Congregational Ministry by Susan Willhauck & Jacqulyn Thorpe...
Overview This book calls for women in church leadership to recognize the potential of female styles of authority and ministry, and to lay claim to them as a way to move beyond the hierarchical models that have so long dominated our understanding of how the church practices its mission and organizes its life. It offers detailed, practical steps for how to work with laity, other clergy, and congregational leadership groups to achieve this transformation in the way the church organizes itself for ministry.
Leaders have long realized that hierarchical models of ministry and organizations have little place in the church. For congregations dedicated to the principle that all God's people are called to share equally in mission and ministry, the notion that "some are more equal than others" is absurd. Yet, in spite of this awareness, churches often default to hierarchical structures of authority and organization, with decisions and initiatives coming "from the top" and passing down "through the ranks" with, at best, mixed results.
In this book the authors propose an alternative model: the web of leadership. Unlike traditional hierarchical understanding, authority and power in the web are circular and interdependent. The principle tools of effective ministry are access and dialogue. Where it comes into contact with the world, the web is flexible and resilient; it is able to adapt faithfully to change and engage in new ministries and forms of outreach, because it is anchored to and in constant conversation with the center. The source for this understanding of authority and ministry is the tradition of women's leadership in the church.
The Web of Women's Leadership calls for women in the church leadership to recognize the potential of female styles of authority and ministry and lay claim to them as a way to move beyond the hierarchical models that have dominated our understanding of how the church practices its mission and organizes its life. It offers detailed, practical steps for how to work with laity, other clergy, and congregational leadership groups to achieve this transformation in the way the church organizes itself for ministry.
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Studio: Abingdon Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.52" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.46" Weight: 0.5 lbs.
Release Date Feb 1, 2001
Publisher Abingdon Church Supplies
ISBN 0687072964 ISBN13 9780687072965
Availability 70 units. Availability accurate as of Apr 26, 2017 09:29.
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More About Susan Willhauck & Jacqulyn Thorpe
Susan Willhauck is Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology at Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Prior to that, she was on the faculty of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. She holds a Ph.D. in Religious Education and Catechetics from The Catholic University of America, a Master of Theological Studies from Wesley Theological Seminary and a B.A. from Emory and Henry College. She is currently a consultant with and co-researcher for the Lead Women Pastors Project of the United Methodist Church.
Susan Willhauck was born in 1955.
Susan Willhauck has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about The Web of Women's Leadership: Recasting Congregational Ministry?
Dreaming and Planning for the 21st Century Mar 8, 2001
This is not a long book, but it is a big book. It is rich with ideas that are ancient and post-modern, all cast in a new way. And as if the ideas were not exciting enough, this book offers very practical suggestions for shifting from a pyramid-shaped hierarchical model for church (and other) organizations to a web-shaped model that flattens the pyramid and spreads the power throughout the web. The authors address the issue of how leadership can work in the new millennium, in an age of sharing information and sharing power. The hierarchical model of organization and leadership is no longer viable, especially in the church and in education. The top-down, exclusive, oppressive style of leadership that has been the norm in the church, government, commerce and the military is simply not going to be able to operate successfully in the future (except maybe in the military).
The web as a design model for leadership is not brand new with the authors. But, the thoroughness with which they discuss the nature of web organization and leadership versus the old style gives them some claim to the development of the concept.
The web is homegrown and grassroots. It is empowering, even for those at the margins. It encourages true community, which hierarchy impedes. Leaders emerge from all parts of the web, as situations develop and gifts are discovered. The web assumes God's generous nature. We find abundance in the diversity of community, not the scarcity hierarchical models often claim.
The web is inclusive (as community must be), and rejects uniformity and conformity for the spiritual unity which is diversity. The temptation for one group to oppress another group is eliminated since oppression really requires hierarchy.
The authors aimed this book at women in ministry, both clergy and laity. But, it would be a mistake for male clergy and laity to pass it by. One of the goals of the book is the revitalization of the Church through the paradigm shift from hierarchy (which means "rule by priests") to the web, which reflects the way Jesus Christ lived and worked during his earthly life.
Jesus was certainly a relational leader, meeting people where they were and loving them as they were, while trying to help them fulfill their potential as disciples. Women were very important to Jesus, and to the earliest churches. It wasn't until the end of the first century that the male-dominated hierarchy began to develop.
The big problem with the web model is that leading from the center is harder than leading from the top. Being inclusive, embracing (not just tolerating) diversity, and being a leader in relationship with all the members of your church, or all the students in your class, or all the employees in your company, is just a great deal of work. But,not only is the final result worth the extra effort, it is the only way to go.
I am very impressed with Susan Willhauck and Jacqulyn Thorpe. They are clear and focused thinkers as well as innovative and exciting educators. They present a new way of being the Church (or school or business) that is going to be monstrously difficult to sell to the people in power. But, their sustained argument is biblically grounded and very reasonable. It is radical in the original sense of that word: back to the roots. It is clearly a viable, sound and effective direction for the Church to make its way into the 21st century. I believe that this book is just the beginning of the field of literature that we will see develop in the coming decades, that will try to make sense of being the Church in the post-modern era. It is certainly a good start.
I'll close with a great quote from Charlene Ellis that opens the book: "You just have to find a way to stop doing what's stupid." Amen!