In what way is a religious leader productive? He or she can be productive in one or more of the four following roles.
Leaders are first of all productive in the sense that they produce opinions. Opinions are important instruments because they express the autonomy of the religion in an ever changing world. They express how the product of religion should be looked at. Opinions form the fundament for the support of a religion.
A religious leader is also a kind of broker. The leader himself is neutral and will negotiate between the sacred and the profane. In this role the religious leader will acknowledge that there are more religions and that we should believe in either of them, as long as we believe. In this role the leader should cooperate with other religious leaders for a common goal.
A religious leader is also like a coach: It might be difficult to believe in a world like this. It is hard to imagine that there is a God around, not able to do something and make this a better place, but the leader will give us hope and energy to continue (believing). Like a real soccer coach, the leader pushes us into the right direction, into the direction of a personal victory.
A religious leader is also a representative of the religion. Although less earthly - the religious leader is like the sales rep that knocks on your door and is trying to convince you that this religion is the best product. Of course there are other religions, but those are second best. Unfortunately for them. You should choose this brand, just because we are the strongest and most people buy from us.
Think about these roles in light of the recent “confrontation" after the Pope's lecture in Germany. The Pope is indeed a real leader. The question is whether the world is in need of this kind of leadership.
© 2006 Hans Bool
Hans Bool is the founder of Astor White a traditional management consulting company that offers online management tools. Have a look at some of our free management tools