As leaders we are faced with an increasing number of social and work-related issues that are difficult to navigate from a Lutheran perspective. Combined with an increasing diversity of theological perspectives amongst leadership teams, the complexities of finding an agreed or unified way forward are amplified. This usually results in emotional stress and relationship damage.
At the National Ministry Conference participants were led through a theological action research (TAR). Rather than trying to find the one official Lutheran doctrinal voice or insight to decide the issue, the TAR was presented as a tool to enable participants to acknowledge each of the multiple voices, to identify where each of the voices fit within the big picture of the issue, and how the voices might respectfully dialogue with each other.
Does the TAR provide a clear way forward for every social and work-related issue? No. What it does provide though, is a way for people to respectfully listen to and understand each other, so that when decisions are made, as difficult as they can be, they can be made with a deeper sense of empathy for all concerned.
The TAR is a practical tool to enable us to live out one of the many Capabilities within Growing Deep, such as: engaging the community: Listening and understanding
May God grant each of us, the ability to be fully present and engaged in effective dialogue with others in a way that communicates a deep respect and empathy for their circumstances, background, culture and intentions; to insightfully read the unspoken thoughts or feelings of others and underlying assumptions, intentions or reasons for their behaviour. Amen.
Spiritual & Cultural Leader