Growing Deep Devotion #9
3. Leading the Team
Working in a Lutheran School or Early Learning Centre means one needs to be engaged in leading the team. All of us have the opportunity to lead and work together collaboratively in a team to enhance student learning and wellbeing. We are all being formed to engage, influence and lead others. The four descriptors for leading the team in the Growing Deep framework are creating purpose and clarity, nurturing faith, growing capacity, and inspiring excellence.
3.1 Creating Purpose and Clarity
This first descriptor for leading the team involves creating a very clear sense of purpose and clarity for the school, team, or area of responsibility where God and students are at the centre. It involves establishing a compelling vision and describing how each person’s role plays a valuable part in achieving that greater purpose. It includes clearly and intentionally prioritising responsibilities and articulating how the broader Lutheran education vision and purpose are translated into practical day to day actions, tasks, decisions and behaviours.
One image used for being purposeful and having clarity is that of a group of ships who are all sailing in the same direction. When an organisation is not sailing together in the same direction, it takes much longer and more effort for the flotilla to turn around and face the right direction, to follow the lead boat. Some schools and colleges are larger and have a longer history of tradition, culture and systems. Other schools have a younger history and are smaller and more easily redirected to their purpose. Having the same purpose and clarity is key for all staff in a school, key in terms of their own roles, in terms of how their role helps the overall purpose of the school, and in terms of Lutheran education in general as a system of schools.
It’s not surprising then that one of the images the early Christians used for the church was a boat. From the Old Testament story of Noah and his family and animals safe from the flood in the ark, to Jesus calming the storm from a boat on Lake Galilee in the Gospels, the boat has been an important image of the Christian Church. The Church is a community on a journey through the storms of life, weathered at times but safe within the shelter of God’s ship, Jesus Christ himself. Architecturally, some churches are even built in the shape of a boat to epitomise this symbology.
One particular story from the gospels which portrays this imagery is in Mark 4:35-41. In this passage Jesus says to his disciples; let’s cross to the other side of Lake Galilee. He calls his disciples to hop into the boat and travel with him. Jesus had no tinny with an outboard motor; he was asking them to row to the other side of the lake. To row together effectively takes a coordinated effort and teamwork. Something any organisation needs to do to create clarity of purpose.
To use that analogy in our situation in Lutheran education, what does our boat, our particular school look like? Are we rowing in the same direction as the other boats in our LEA flotilla? And for that matter have we all hopped into the boat Jesus is leading?
Jesus calls us to step into the boat. Our job is to travel with him to the other side of the lake. We row to the other side by working together and following where he leads us. Where God is at the centre of our work as Lutheran Schools, we are on track rowing in the right direction. Are we working together for this common purpose and vision? Is God and the students entrusted to us at the centre of all we do? Is this vision of God, relationships and learning informing all the small, mundane everyday decisions we make as educators?
Lord Jesus, give us clarity and purpose as we work together and encourage one another in our school environment. Help us to see that we are all in this journey of life and learning together. Where there is uncertainty give us your direction, where there is disagreement give us your guidance. Lead us together to safer waters as we engage in the Christian community in this school. In your name we pray. Amen.
 Neville Grieger, Seeking Authenticity, 2012, pp.18-19.
About this site
"Meditations & Musings" is my humble attempt to share what I have found useful in ministry in an Australian Lutheran School setting. It contains chapels, devotions and other resources I have written, used and adapted in my K-12 school context. If you would like to also share your ideas, resources or start a conversation about mission and ministry in your church- school location, feel free to contact me.
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