There are many reasons we have failed to grasp this fact: We have assumed that the best models for leadership were "out there" in the business world or in government, neglecting the native wisdom of Christian and ancient Jewish categories for leadership. We have bought into the assumption that the churchy equivalent of the CEO was the real leader and teachers were simply support staff who added to the programmatic activities in a parish.

Truth be told, the task of teaching is also just too hard and lacking in glamour to be attractive in a world of rock-star models of leadership, and some church leaders are either ill-prepared or very poor at the task. It takes far more time behind the scenes to prepare for the task of teaching than it does to actually convey an understanding of the Christian message. Even when the theology of the tradition is properly understood, the process of translating that message in a fashion that is both accessible and engaging requires a completely different order of discipline, time, and attention.

But whatever the reasons, even large mega-churches are beginning to discover it is one thing to fill pews and another to change lives.

The only remedy is leadership that:

  1. takes the task of triage theology seriously,
  2. acknowledges that we all do triage theology,
  3. dedicates time and attention to the task,
  4. structures and supervises the enterprise,
  5. and frames it appropriately and publicly supports it.

Until we pay attention to the task of teaching the faith to others, we shouldn't be surprised to find that the people around us only appear to be following.