I just got an e-mail from Dale Pollard, who leads the Prodigal group. The e-mail ended with the following statement, which I found to be quite astute:
Mostly we think of people with great authority as higher up, far away, hard to reach. But spiritual authority comes from compassion and emerges from deep inner solidarity with those who are "subject" to authority. The one who is fully like us, who deeply understands our joys and pains or hopes and desires, and who is willing and able to walk with us, that is the one to whom we gladly give authority and whose "subjects" we are willing to be. It is the compassionate authority that empowers, encourages, calls forth hidden gifts, and enables great things to happen. True spiritual authorities are located in the point of an upside-down triangle, supporting and holding into the light everyone they offer their leadership to. Peace, Dale
It can be difficult, in many churches, to find leaders who exhibit this kind of a Christ-like mentality. Peace to you, too, Dale.