February 26, 2018—There is no end to spin offs and parodies on The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). I thought I’d add to the mix by offering “10 Commandments for Clergy Leaders” from a systems theory point of view. Here is my playful list. What would be yours?
1. Thou shalt not make thyself dependent of the Church for your salvation, for she is not your God.
2. Thou shalt cultivate your relationship with your family of origin, for it is your once and future hope.
3. Thou shalt not sacrifice your family and its members for the sake of ministry, for they are your first ministry.
4. Thou shalt not accommodate to weakness, neither in yourself or in others. For fear, timidity, insecurity, and neediness are a lack of faith.
5. Thou shalt not create the congregation in your image, for that is willfulness and a form of idolatry.
6. Thou shalt invest in other people’s growth – your staff, your employees, your congregational members – for that is an aid to differentiation.
7. Thou shalt master triangles, for they shall be with you till the end of time.
8. Thou shalt practice responsible stewardship of your calling. Invest in your own growth and development: personal, spiritual, emotional, physical, mental, and professional, for a church can only be as healthy as its leader.
9. Thou shalt embrace imagination and adventure, for they will get you farther along on the journey.
Israel Galindo is Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning and Director of Online Education at the Columbia Theological Seminary. The Center for Lifelong Learning’s Pastoral Excellence Program at Columbia seminary offers a variety of clergy leadership development programs, including the Leadership in Ministry Workshops at four locations (Portland OR, Boston MA, Atlanta GA, and Lynchburg VA), the Colloquy for Clergy series, and the Transition into Wellness retreats in partnership with the Ministering to Ministers Foundation.