Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Theorist : Practitioner

In a number of contexts recently I have observed a fundamental misconception among many church leaders: that many of those presented as having something worth sharing in regard to leading churches are theorists rather than practitioners, and that only the experience of a practitioner – i.e. someone who is doing what I am doing, perhaps better – is really worth engaging with.

If you coach others as leaders, you have to step back from micro-management. This does NOT make you a theorist rather than a practitioner (the misconception, which allows us to dismiss such people’s insights); it means you are now a practitioner at a different level.

This is true of those who train ordinands at college - yes, some are better than others, but the maxim “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach” is false...also true of those who write books, or speak at events...

Equally, to say “this person is a practitioner, not a theorist” is not necessarily a useful endorsement - they may be an excellent individual practitioner, with little capacity to oversee the release of others into good practice...

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