Participatory Leadership: Building New Habits in the Body of Christ Open Access

Barr, Cameron (Spring 2019)

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As an alternative to modes of organizational leadership that are more authoritarian or

controlling, this project elaborates on leadership practices suitable for use by pastors in

congregations that welcome the participatory leadership of the assembled body of

worshippers. The article elaborates on three platforms of participatory leadership

specifically—the World Café, the Circle Way, and Open Space Technology—and demonstrates

how the author, a pastor in the Congregational tradition, used them in parish leadership. The

article shows evidence that these practices can help the Body of Christ learn how to become

more experimental for the sake of innovation in its mission. Furthermore, the article argues

that practices of participatory leadership are helpful to the church in a disruptive time

of adaptive change and faithful to an ecclesiology that values the congregation as an

image of the Risen Christ.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Discernment with Communal Gifts in Mind 4

The Body of Christ as a Living System 8

Art of Hosting Tools 16

World Cafe 17

Circle Way 20

Open Space Technology 22

Experience in Grinnell 27

Experience in Chapel Hill 30

Measuring Impact 33

Conclusion 37

Works Cited 39

Appendix 42

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