Leadership: Becoming Curious

Becoming Curious Leaders

This last Saturday I sat at a table to wonder with some congregational leaders from four different churches in our synod. We were drawn together to explore how churches might engage their neighbors. One of the guiding challenges we rallied around was that many of our congregations appear not particularly curious about their neighbors or neighborhoods.

One gentleman, Mike, mentioned he was disturbed by the whole thought of the topic itself. He concluded our time together asking three questions: Why are we not curious about our neighbors? What are the barriers that keep us from being curious? What are the ways we can encourage curiosity among our people? Needless to say, we didn’t arrive at an answer to the question. What we did, however, was to set some possible experiments to consider what this might be about.

How about you? How do you assess the compentencies of curiosity in your faith community? How is it curated? How do you allow curiosity to lead you to places where otherwise you wouldn’t go or you couldn’t see?

Curiosity is a central gift, and generous companion, not only a skill, for an artist. This is the case primarily since, for the artist, curiosity isn’t merely understood as a means to an end, but is itself an access point for becoming immersed in the joy and beauty, and challenging disruptions of the creative journey itself. As a posture to our world, curiosity can place us more mutually in relationship to our environments, our neighbors, and with the possibility for provoking us to be just as interested in what is going on ahead of us as we are to organizing what we are bringing to the situation ourselves.

I can imagine many responses to the question Mike posed. Perhaps you can too. Living Local is centrally about creating new imaginations to see and hear differently within the creating power of the Spirit.

Margaret Wheatley, in Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future, offers some insight into what this looks like:

“The simplest way to begin finding each other again is to start talking about what we care about. If we could stop ignoring each other, stop engaging in fear-filled gossip, what might we discover? Conversation, however, takes time. We need time to sit together, to listen, to worry and dream together. As this age of turmoil tears us apart, we need to reclaim time to be together. Otherwise, we cannot stop the fragmentation.”

In the creative power of the One who is a conversation, and who we overhear in their love for the world, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, perhaps we can be called not only to deeper impact in our actions on the neighbor, but our interactions with the neighbors.

Peace on your journey.

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