‘We can all be leaders in the Church’

Chris Lowney (CSSV/Fiona Basile)

The Church needs to discover how to “transform and revitalise” itself during this time of “crisis”, according to US author and leadership expert Chris Lowney. Source: Catholic Social Services Victoria.

“The Catholic Church is probably facing its worse crisis in five centuries,” Mr Lowney said. “I think we have a crisis where we might now be willing to say: ‘Ok, we just can’t go on the way we are. We have to change’."

Mr Lowney will be in Melbourne and Ballarat from September 5-11 to share his knowledge and insights as to how the Church might navigate its way out of crisis. He has written six books that focus on leadership and Ignatian spirituality. He draws much from his latest book, Everyone Leads.

“We’re at a point where we need to understand how to transform and revitalise the Church in crisis,” he says. “Each person has a leadership opportunity and responsibility. This is especially important in the kind of environments that we’re all coping with now where it's very volatile, complex and confusing. Things are changing quickly.”

He adds: “We need to move from a Church where a small number of Episcopal and clerical leaders are understood as the leadership group, to an understanding now where everybody who sits in a pew feels that they somehow have to be part of the leadership solution for the Church. So we need a widely distributed sense of what leadership means and who can play leadership and how they lead.”

“We need to recognise the importance of a much greater entrepreneurial, creative, and innovative spirit. The Church just needs to confront and accept the fact that many of the ways we’ve traditionally done things is just not working. So we have to be open to new approaches to many of the basic things we do as a Church.”

Mr Lowney said it wasn’t his job to say how the Church “should change in terms of who’s authorised to play what kinds of roles”, but that there was a “wide-open playing field, where historically, authority, responsibility and opportunity has not been shared or taken by lay people, which can or should be”.

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Co-responsibility: the way forward for leadership in the Catholic Church (CSSV)

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