From Edu-Blogged news and specifically Will Richardson, I read how teaching is changing because of the web. Rather than the teacher serving as the authoritative voice and primary source of class content, students look to the web for resources. In response, teachers may either ignore this reality, fight against it, or serve as a "guide on the side". Even further, teachers may encourage and facilitate the web's use. In this case, teachers serve as connectors rather than content providers. They bring their students to the information that the teacher finds most helpful and they provide contexts for working through the material. As I am fairly new to the teaching scene, these thoughts are quite sobering. I get strokes when I get to be the 'sage on the stage'. Moving to the side changes the way I think about teaching completely.
As I think about churches, I realize the web will or ought to change the way we do church and leadership. Rather than the pastor or leaders serving as the one source or even the primary source of information for the community, church members will be looking to the Internet for resources regarding their faith. Leadership as the single funnel or portal of information will cease to be workable. Leaders will have two options -- to control the information, which will become increasingly difficult, or again, like the new type of teacher, to serve as a connector rather than a content provider. Leaders will come alongside to help gather, interpret, start conversations, and build the community around helpful content.
I believe if we work with this cultural change rather than fight against it, we will see wonderful life come to our faith communities. I've heard some leaders respond, when I ask them who the leader of their community is, 'hopefully the Holy Spirit". I believe this shift creates an opportunity for a move in this direction, i.e. to an egalitarian spirit-led community. Although it may feel like a chastened role for the leader, I do believe "leader as connector" creates a space for the Holy Spirit to serve as the primary leader of our communities.