Seth Godin is the master at writing short powerful books that make a point and pack a punch. Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, does just that. There are so many powerful nuggets in this book that I hardly know where to go.
But the premise of the book is fairly simple.
A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.
And what do tribes and you have in common?
It's simple: there are tribes everywhere now, inside and outside of organizations, in public and private, in nonprofits, in classrooms, across the planet. Every one of these tribes is yearning for leadership and connection. This is an opportunity for you--an opportunity to find or assemble a tribe and lead it. The question isn't, Is it possible for me to do that? Now, the question is, Will I choose to do it?
Now the obvious conclusion for those of you in ministry or other leadership positions is that you are part of a tribe, or you might be leading that tribe. You might be a pastor, or you might be a manager, or you might be a CEO. Whatever you are, there is a tribe that is waiting for your leadership. Godin contends (especially with new technology and social media tools) that connecting and leading a tribe is easier now than ever before. But just because you have a tribe does not make you a good leader. In fact, because of the collapsing costs of new social media tools the old ways of leadership are passing, making way for new tribes and leaders to emerge.
This reality has great impact on the Church, as well as other areas of our private and public life. In fact, because of the rapidly changing world around us, our tribes require new leadership, new imagination, and new ways of solving problems that prevent us from getting caught up in the status quo. The Church would be one of those arena where the status quo is often maintained at all costs....so to change the status quo, the Church needs more heretics. YES, I SAID HERETICS. Let Godin explain:
Heretics are engaged, passionate, and more powerful and happier than everyone else. And they have a tribe that they support (and that supports them in turn).
Challenging the status quo requires a commitment, both public and private. It involves reaching out to others and putting your ideas on the line. (Or pinning your Ninety-five Theses to the church door.)
Heretics must believe. More than anyone else in an organization, it's the person who's challenging the status quo, the one who is daring to be great, who is truly present and not just punching a clock who must have confidence in her beliefs?
Can you imagine Steve Jobs showing up for the paycheck? It's nice to get paid. It's essential to believe.
And then more from Godin on being a heretic:
Religion and faith are often confused. Someone who opposes faith is called an atheist and widely reviled. But we don't have a common word for someone who opposes a particular religion.
Heretic will have to do.
If faith is the foundation of a belief system, then religion is the facade and the landscaping. It's easy to get caught up in the foibles of a corporate culture and the systems that have been built over time, but they have nothing at all to do with the faith that built the system in the first place.
Change is made by people, by leaders who are proud to be called heretics because their faith is never in question.
I could write and quote more on this book because I thought it was so good. Short, simple and powerful. I read it in about 3-4 sittings. That's the thing with Seth Godin. Make the point, drive it home and then end the book. The feeling I had after the book, and the feeling that I think you will have is this...the need and passion to look at your life, and to determine that it isn't status quo. To look around and see the tribes you are a part of, and to discern the ones that need your leadership. And ultimately, I was left with the feeling that church ministry leaders need to do a better job of challenging the status quo, otherwise we are enslaved to our culture around us.
Get the book at Amazon or buy it on i-Tunes (it is on sale for $.95 right now). Yes, I said $.95 cents. Seth is the master marketer.
Also check out his group that he launched before the book as an experiment Triibes, and see if you can get in.