Knowing and being known

(FYI - For those of you looking for the presentations from Saturdays Conference - read the post and scroll down!) James Poulter - Recommendation EconomyA big thank you to all of you who attended my sessions at the Christian New Media Conference on Saturday at City University, and a massive thank you to all who have contributed thoughts, ideas, comments and criticisms to the blog in the past 12 months as we have sought to explore together how we act out our faith in this changing time of communication, community and media. I am very proud to have picked up the 'Best Newcomer' gong at "The Bloggies" - the awards section of #CNMAC10 (Christian New Media Awards and Conference 2010) - but I really have you guys to thank for it.

At the conference on Saturday I explored how the Recommendation Economy is changing the way we create public persona's for ourselves, by sharing our likes, dislikes and recommendations  with one another online and how this will not only effect the way we spread the message of Jesus, of our churches and organisations and our own opinions through the web.

One of the keys to understanding the impact of the recommendation economy for the Church is understanding how it is affecting the way people come to "know and be known" - how we understand our place in the world through the exchange of information with one another. I think this is an interesting way to look at what community (that often overused word) really is. Community should always be a place where we are coming to know others and be known by them.

The recommendation economy is having real implications for the way we live our lives, with so many of us spending increasing amounts of time online as we migrate other communications and media consumption to the web, we inevitably begin to seek out community in this changing world. We have an innate need to search out others who share our likes, values and beliefs, for it is only in a context of community that we understand our place in the world - and I would argue that this is our default state of being, because it's God's default also.

We clearly see in scripture that God in three persons lives out his own existence in community, the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit loving one another in the purest of senses, and that when God put Adam in the garden, his primary purpose was to share that state of knowing and being known with us, his people.

So is it any wonder that this evolving world of social media is so appealing to us at a human level? Do we not see in this place of technology, communication and ideas a reflection of the father, the Son and the Holy Spirit? Do we not see ourselves seeking out other to know and be known?

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Inspiring leadership

Thought you may like this quote I came across today on leadership from JackWelch the former CEO of General Electric- He said that there are times that come when a leader

"cannot be this thoughtful, in-the-corner guru. You cabot be a moderate, balanced, thoughtful, careful articulator of policy. You've got to be on the lunatic fringe."

We all know that sometimes there comes a point when things have been processed into oblivion and you as a leader have to take charge and make the tough decisions. Decisions which affect the lives of those around us and the futures of those we lead.

The past two weeks at the church I attend here in London we have been exploring this theme of leadership through the eyes of the apostle Paul as he handed over leadership of his early church to Timothy - you can hear the sermons here.

As John (our church leader) so helpfully explained, the mantle of leadership is on a constant cycle of passing on the younger generations, the men and women who will lead the church/office/country in years to come. I find myself in such a position now, as I seek to train and lead in some capacity a team in the work environment, and also find new places to lead and explore in a church context.

On the work front as I seek to train a team of highly credible and swithed on individuals, I begin to feel pangs of what I like to call the Moses syndrome- the symptoms of which are highly unpleasant, however they manifest themselves differently in all of us. You may know it yourself, that feeling that you are called and chosen for a task, but in many ways feel wholly inadequate to take it on.

When Moses found himself upon mount sinai and heard God himself tell him that he would lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, i think two things were happening in his head. Firstly he felt crushed with the weight of the task ahead, and secondly he was being confronted with a calling from God, an undeniable calling.

This is difficult to comprehend, as we read in Genesis Moses wrestled mentally and spiritually to get his ear in the place where he could walk into the courts of the Pharoah and command him to let his people go. However any leader who has ever felt that call to lead will at some point or another feel that pang of moses syndrome, as they face what seems to be their own mount Sinai moment.

The crunch of all this (as John so helpfully illustrated last night) is that we who are called as leaders should be able to stand with out heads held high when we acknowledge our gift and call to leadership. We do not need to apologise for this, and it is in no way un-Christian or boasting. Because the point is our leadership (or perhaps the best kind of leadership) is to SERVE. It is only in servanthood that our leadership life can truly thrive and grow.

So whether you are leading a team in the workplace, the church, the factory, the home or the hospital, seek to serve those whom you lead. No one likes to be led, but we love to be served.