I dislike the title, but love the book. In Everyone Leads, Chris Lowney first diagnoses the challenges facing the church from the low participation and church attendance, to uninterested young adults, the closing of parishes and schools, and creates a sense of urgency in the reader. We must use new approaches. The old ways are no longer effective and fruitful.
Chris Lowney proposes a solution that involves creating a new culture of leadership, where everyone – all of us – are co-responsible for the mission of the Church. He suggests a process where we allow for entrepreneurs to provide creative and innovative ideas. Where we are all accountable as good stewards of our talents and resources, where we monitor successes and failures (and learn from both). A Church where we focus on service of the poor and marginalized in order that we may transform hearts and souls. Transformed hearts and souls will reach out and engage and welcome those on the peripheries. The process Mr. Lowney proposes goes by the acronym EASTeR (Entrepreneurial, Accountable. Service oriented, Transformative and Reaching out & building Relationships.)
The positive news in the process is that we have all the resources we need. We know our mission: To lead others to faith, freedom and love of Jesus Christ and to make Jesus known and loved. To create a culture of encounter. We have the means: a billion faithful who are gifted by God for the mission of today. But we need to implement new strategies, new methods, and not be afraid to try new ways of doing things. We need to encourage and empower the faithful to try new ideas and not be afraid to run with them. Often great ideas come from outsiders who have a fresh perspective and imagination and who are not stuck in the same old thinking. In a way, our leadership are always the usual suspects. We tap insiders for leadership positions. We need to nurture holy entrepreneurs who are agile in creative approaches.
In the later chapters of the book, Chris Lowney details and tells stories of examples of each of the elements of the EASTeR acronym, and ends on the positive note that the challenges we face are also opportunities for creative solutions. The Holy Spirit has placed us at this time in history. We have the gifts needed for our time. Let us work together and pray: Come Holy Spirit raise up saints for our time.
Note: Chris Lowney will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Celebrate Christ on October 21 in Lake Placid. Online registration is available by clicking on the link above.