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Leadership Profile Paper

This paper was prepared by the Leadership Strategy Group of the Archbishop in Council, Diocese of Melbourne, and it has been forwarded to the Archbishop's Nomination Board for their consideration.

It is made available on this site for the information of those who have an interest in the on-going process of selection of a new Archbishop of Melbourne.

The Nomination Board has the task of preparing a list of 3 to 6 names. The nominations will then be placed before a full election synod of the diocese in the new year.


God help us to change. To change ourselves and to change our world. To know the need for it. To deal with the pain of it. To feel the joy of it. To undertake the journey without understanding the destination. The art of gentle revolution. Amen (Michael Leunig)

1. Introduction

"Archbishop in Council has asked that the Task Group produce a draft paper for Synod to promote discussion and debate regarding the present factors which affect the decision process and profile for the next Archbishop of Melbourne. The wider question of leadership in the Church will be considered as the next priority by the Task Force".

It addresses the unique social and cultural context likely in Melbourne over the next decade; the present situation of the Diocese of Melbourne; the critical need for refocus and reform in its mind sets, structures and processes at all levels.

It then looks at parameters and aspects of identity and values which shape and inform our Anglican process in addressing the issues at hand, including the Scriptures, our traditions, the place of reason, and reminds us of the role of Bishop according to 'A prayer Book for Australia' in the Anglican Church of Australia.

The paper has one major omission. It does not represent adequately (due to space and time) the intensity, honesty, openness and fellowship shared amongst the members of the group. It is our belief that the process (meaning the time frame required and the desire to be more task focussed) has limited our dreaming and creativity in exploring models of leadership from both the Scriptures and the contemporary world as they impinge on leadership throughout the Church and not only the Episcopate. We are committed to continuing this work.

The paper begins with a brief overview of the context. It then suggests that appropriate styles of leadership varies among Anglicans: What is relevant for 600,000 'Census Anglicans' may not be the case for the 60,000 parish and sector connected or the 30,000 regular participants. Perceptions of leadership depend on who you are in the church. Secondly it outlines a way of thinking in the context of the 'Anglican Way'. Thirdly, the focus shifts to episcopate leadership and the desire for a new way for diocesan life. Finally, we list future expectations of our next diocesan leader, noting that one person cannot do all that is needed.

The task group has viewed and discussed a number of leadership models to be found in Scripture. The approach of 'servant leadership' has been the model favoured to this point. As Christians we are the disciples of the one who said, 'I am among you as the one who serves? (Luke 22:29). Further references to the theme of servanthood can be found throughout Scripture: 1 John 4:20, Mark 4:1-20, John 12:24, John 13:1-20, Eph. 4:16. Our discussions have not concluded. We are conscious that the ministry of Christ is a gift to all of the people of God reflected in what we understand as the priesthood of all believers. This raises the important question of relationships and connections between the parts of the whole and our understanding of the place of the Trinity with models of leadership. Apostolic leadership as seen in the book of Acts is another way of understanding leadership.

Particular features of Apostolic leadership in the rapidly changing times of the early church include: worship, vision, priorities, opportunities, conflict, ownership, outcomes and accountabilities.

For the purpose of brevity, the breadth of our discussions have not been concluded. The task group regards this paper as part of its work in progress and welcomes feedback. The attachment at the conclusion illustrates part of the working approach.

2. The Context

Our time is probably unique in the history of humankind. It is described in various ways the most common being, "post modern". Others suggest we have moved further beyond this point to the 'post modern market'. David Bosch in his book entitled, "Believing in the Future - Toward a Missiology of Western Culture", describes it this way: "Both Christian mission and modern culture widely regarded as antagonists, are in crisis." This new context is challenging and confronting to both the church and the wider community. Description of what is meant by "post modernism" is the content of many learned text books and beyond the scope of this paper. In essence however it says that previous cultural, philosophical narratives (including religion) and reasoned solutions (science, technology and economics) to the world's present 'crisis', are no longer relevant or sustainable, and a new paradigm(s) will be necessary. Despite our own personal views of this description of the present we as a Church cannot ignore or dismiss this context. Past models of Church, styles of leadership and vision are now subject to intense conversation and dialogue both within and outside the community of faith. The responses to this new context are mixed. It is difficult to evaluate one against another and to clearly delineate "an approach". The necessary steps to move forward are risky and there is the urgent need to ask ourselves are we prepared to engage in this process. Without doubt some things will be lost. On the other hand, much is to be gained. To remain static however will be to set an agenda for further marginalisation from the community. It is easier to describe the past than assess the future.

Work undertaken already by the various task groups has identified the similarities and differences within our diocese, the richness and diversity of our traditions, the various emphasis in ecclesiology and the subtle and profound differences in words like church, mission, evangelism, congregation / parish and sector ministry. Yet we still seem unclear on the precise nature of the present context. In the Post Modern age, objective truth is challenged, the narratives stories of religion marginalised and the solutions of economics, science and technology questioned While the market economy, globalisation and information technology are making inroads into the way communities exist there is a growing awareness that they by themselves will not sustain our future. At the same time each of these is dramatically impacting on Australian culture and the influence of the Church. How valid are these observations? Hugh Mackay has identified from his research that Australians are "confused, anxious and unsure" about their place in Australian society, the directions of Australian society, and a sense of personal meaning and identity. The Church at the same time seems unable and powerless to address this crisis in identity and meaning. Despite our best efforts we are restricted and limited in all aspects of the mission and life of the church. This is not to ignore "best efforts" happening in many places but is a broad statement of reality. The era of Christendom in Australia (if there was such a time) is over. There is the urgent need for the church to exercise leadership and to articulate a vision which incorporates all Australians, builds relationship and addresses difficulties within its own structures.

3. How do we handle the change

Several new approaches will be necessary to handle the changed situations:

  • Firstly we will need new mindsets - a mindset which is no longer appropriate is a very dangerous 'enemy within'.
  • Secondly, awareness of changed situations and effective adaptation to them, without loss of principle and core values, will be vital.
  • Grand schemes are unlikely to be effective due to the differences of perspectives of different people. Instead, numerous small initiatives are likely to be needed to achieve objectives. ('Lighting a lot of little fires, fuelling them, and harnessing the energy'.)
  • We will need to embrace the opportunities presented by continuous learning.
    Some keys to learning include:
    1. Listening, observing, looking beyond ourselves
    2. Systems Thinking. Recognising the interrelationship between parts.
    3. Developing personal competencies. Developing clarity of vision, focusing energies, commitment, attitudes, knowledge and skills, patience.
    4. Building 'Models'. Understand and bring to the surface our mental models of the world. Challenging, testing, changing, mutual exchange, sharing growth.

4. The Anglican Way of Discernment

The background to the writing of this paper is a particular diocese and its call to embrace more effectively the mission of God. The call is not new. Every generation struggles to discern what the Spirit is saying to the churches and the world, and seeks to act in concert with and in the power of the Spirit.

Anglicans have traditionally come to this process of discernment expecting the Spirit to speak through the Scriptures, Tradition and Reason.

  • The Scriptures open up to us not only the nature of God's mission (sending forth of God's self) in Christ but they also show that this mission is continued in the life of the resurrection Church. The Church is not self made nor exerting its own self into the world, but as members of Christ, God's new Creation, continues the work of God's self-sending. The Church is not an 'ideal' reality, but it is composed of flawed and real people; not disembodied but, in human terms, an organisation. God's mission is what we do and what we are.
  • The Tradition is the story of the Spirit at work in that Church, which both fails and succeeds in the apostolic ministry of Christ. The Scriptures and Tradition combine to testify to the Church as a society divinely gathered and sent, in which the shape of its life, worship and ministry are received as gifts from God. That these must always be open to reform and development does not diminish the Anglican sense of reverent gratitude to God who both orders and gifts the Church. The Scriptural witness to the Spirit's presence in the world, preparing the Church's way, is testified to by the Tradition, in which we see the Church called to incarnate God's life in the cultures of the world and to name and celebrate those ways that God is at work beyond the Church. In the 'post-Christendom' era we are made alert to the Scriptural truth that to proclaim the Kingdom of God is not necessarily the same thing as building up the Church. One of the key areas of creative tension in Anglican life arises out of differing perceptions of the relation between Church and Kingdom. In mission, God both calls people into the baptismal life and transforms creation and human society with, but at times despite the actions of the Church.
  • Anglicans affirm that human intelligence is the good creation of God and that its highest expression is the apprehension of the mystery of God. The 'reasonableness' of Anglicanism is one of its distinct contributions to the life of the universal Church, in which both Scripture and Tradition are often deified and reduced by dogmatic interpretation.
  • A Bishop in the Anglican tradition is understood in the following way: (see APBA)
    i. A person of Prophecy and Apostolic Tradition:
    "A bishop is called to maintain the Church's witness to the resurrection of Christ from the dead, to protect the purity of the gospel, and to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord."
    ii. A bishop is a focus of Unity
    "As a chief minister and pastor in Christ's Church, you are to guard its faith, unity and discipline, and promote its mission in the world."
    iii. A bishop is a means and focus of order in the Church
    "You are to ensure that God's word is faithfully proclaimed, Christ's sacraments duly administered and Christ's discipline applied justly with mercy."
    iv. A bishop is a growth point in the Church
    "You are to lead and guide the priests and deacons under your care and be faithful in the choosing and ordaining of ministers."
    v. A bishop is a pastor and a host
    "You are to watch over, protect and serve the people of God, to teach and govern them, and to be hospitable. You must therefore know and be known by them, and be a good example to all."

5. Leadership

The central focus of this paper is Leadership, and in particular preparing a profile for a future Archbishop in this diocese. The profile is transferable to other positions of leadership within the diocese. The profile presented is not an evaluation of any incumbent in any existing position of leadership. The future demands a new profile.

  1. Episcopal Ministry - Gifting for Mission
    As we seek to discern leaders in the Church we affirm that we receive episcopal ministry and order as part of our Anglican gifting for mission and we affirm that episcopal ministry binds us in a universality of Church life. We do not ordain bishops (or priests and deacons) to the Anglican Church but to the universal Church of God. Our choice of an appropriate local Anglican bishop will always be mindful of this.
    Locally, our needs are various and diverse and at times, even appear in conflict, so that the context in which episcopal ministry occurs can appear almost overwhelming. Administrative responsibilities can militate against the pastoral and so on. This raises serious questions about the regional structures of the Diocese, the availability of resources, and the need to free resources for mission.
  2. Moving from where we are
    There seems to be widespread consensus that some aspects of our shared diocesan life need to change, and that hope for change focuses on what God might do through the episcopal leadership. This leadership will have the responsibility to set a framework for dialogue and conversation both within the Church and world. They will have passion for the Gospel and a strong commitment to the empowerment and resourcing of the Church at both parish and sector ministry level.
    Various negative aspects of diocesan life tend to detract from the undoubted strengths that are here and which will need to be addressed. Among those negative things is the shopping list, accurately or not, of what some people complain of:
    • Many clergy are seen as demoralised, anxious, depressed, disappointed, guilty.
      In a time of change, the security and clarity of purpose associated with priestly life, and its diminution as a socially approved and influential vocation all have their impact on clergy. This has its flow-on effect for all the baptised for whom the clergy are a significant reference point. As the 'numbers' game becomes a survival issue, the tendency grows both to guilt and a sense of inadequacy, and to blaming, competition and fragmentation within parish and diocesan life. These feelings of failure are further exacerbated by the changes in the wider community, such as the seven day working week, the growth of individualism, the power of the media, scandals within the church, lack of clergy peer support and the complexities of the issues.
    • In the spirit of the age, clergy and congregations are tempted to become individualistic and congregationalist. Our diocesan structures assume institutional loyalties and a tolerance to hierarchy and a 'given' order that do not come naturally at the turn of the new century. The things that were 'assumed' and bound us together (e.g. Liturgical conformity) are all locally 'on the line'. People increasingly are cautious of diocesan demands. It was ever thus, of course, but a note of resentment has crept in because of a strange ecclesiology which sees the diocese as 'them' and the bishop as 'their manager'. In our present diocesan life the connectedness between parish, sector, diocese, national and global church, is rapidly diminishing. Increasingly, we are seeing a supermarket approach to church - my faith as opposed to the 'faith of the church'.
    • A newcomer to the diocese might be forgiven the impression that clergy, at least, are obsessed when they gather together with anxieties about institutional crisis, failure and dysfunction. Paradoxically, the specific problems are seldom named, and those who do name them are assumed to be indulging in blaming or other negative behaviour. There exists significant distrust, at times a lack of analytical skill or willingness to engage in community conversation on complex social or ethical issues, and a lack of affirmation of diversity within our Anglican tradition. The newcomer might infer that the diocese on an organisational level is in denial, not of its inadequacies, but of new realities.
    • There is a new dissonance between the world's view of the Church and her own sense of a high and universal calling, and between the historically assumed shape of ecclesiastical life and the varieties of expression that are emerging. This has led to some confusion in our own sense of identity, which may be acted out in behaviours that stem from distrust and competition for dominance.

Whether these complaints are accurately founded or not is something the reader will have to assess. They are complaints, however, that are made.

6. To a New Place

A consistent tradition of excellence has been the mark of Melbourne's episcopal life. As and when the need for a new archbishop arises we will seek someone who is excellent, and who can discern where we are now as a diocese and lead us into the next part of our pilgrimage.

For example, we seek to become a church that is:

  • affirming of and clearer about her own place in the mission of God and confident in the Spirit's leading
  • affirming of one another within the church, in whom the baptised are able to recognise the deep mystery of Christ transforming all and each and bringing to fruition God's purposes in and through them [1]
  • united in a common mission which takes on a variety of expressions that can be celebrated without suspicion or jealousy, but with due regard also for the unity of the church
  • confident enough in her vocation to shed inappropriate maintenance functions, and able to 'travel lightly' and more spontaneously in mission
  • confident of Kingdom values, liberated to live them out in local and diocesan structures, and able to recognise and name the Kingdom 'outside' the church
  • rediscovering ecclesial life (sacramental life in its broader sense) as celebration of the Kingdom and gifting for Kingdom life.

Such an archbishop will foster 'new' ministry patterns which

  • include the young
  • are inspired and proactive
  • are various in style and approach
  • intentionally raises up leadership and diversity of skills, resourced by training, supervision and accountability in order to serve in a church which is
  • expressive of traditional, 'mega' and alternative models of church life
  • learning the principles of total ministry - like every other ministry in the Church, the episcopate exists to build, develop and grow the Church into a ministering community, rather than to do ministry 'on behalf' of the Church. The ordained ministers are to focus, enable and celebrate the ministry of Christ with and through the whole baptised people of God and not to exclude others from ministry. The three-fold order of ministry celebrates the apostolic, priestly and diaconal ministry of Christ among and through the baptised. A local expression of the episcopal ministry which is open, visible, supported and understood will and can help build diocesan loyalty which enables the apostolic character of the local Church to be recovered.

The following is the committee's attempt to define the future task.

7. (1) Leader Expectations:
This is not a position description nor does it prioritise tasks. It seeks to state in broad terms the expectations of a future Archbishop.
In the environment described both in Church and community we would expect a future Archbishop:
  1. To exercise leadership in a collegiate style, delegating responsibility for key areas of diocesan life to others;
  2. to establish appropriate management and support structures to separate the pastoral care and support of clergy and authorised lay ministers which help to resolve tensions between the Archbishop's need to offer sensitive pastoral care and to pursue issues of accountability acting as their employer;
  3. to encourage an open approach to diocesan life and decision making by enabling broad discussion throughout the diocese on matters of policy;
  4. to establish appropriate processes and structures for a more coherent and connected interface between Mission and administration;
  5. to focus principally on the Diocese of Melbourne;
  6. to lead by example with a strong commitment to the Diocesan Vision and Strategy directions;
  7. to lead in the ecumenical affairs arena and to encourage the Diocese to participate in inter-faith and inter-church dialogue;
  8. to be the Diocesan spokesperson and to delegate responsibility in the areas of education, welfare, justice, ethics and politics as appropriate;
  9. to leave a more confident, soundly based Church with a certain and agreed future. To build confidence in the clergy by establishing good personal `relationships within diocesan life;
  10. to teach and explain the Christian Story with passion at all levels of community and church life.
  11. to oversight the selection, training and support of candidates for ordination
7. (2) The Person; (Criteria - personal and skills)
- a willingness to share and delegate authority
- a defender of the "faith of the church" while allowing conversation and discussion on questions of revelation, faith, ethics and values
- strong in decision making
- confident speaker and preacher
- an appropriate track record. This is not to imply the person needs already to be a Bishop
- a visionary and one willing to engage in dialogue
- ecumenical in approach, confident in the Anglican expression of the faith
- while remaining authentic within his own tradition, able to embrace the diversity and richness of the Diocese
- open to new thoughts, ways of being Church, and dreams dreams
- prayerful / spiritual
- vulnerable
- able to engage
- be who they are themselves
- theologically strong, both catholic and reformed, contemporary and authentic
- possess good media skills in projecting a positive image of the Church's mission
-a people's person, who understands and connects with ordinary Victorians both inside and outside the Church.


  1. 2 Cor 5:16,17 "From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view, even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!


Topical Articles

 Ministerial Priesthood
 Lay presidency
 Catholic Anglicanism
 Women bishops

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