The 1% Clergical Elite and the 10% Cultural Creative Leadership

John La Grou was talking recently about a 1% ecclesial elite and the 10% cultural creatives in the church world. I asked him to elaborate and thus a new blog post this morning.

“The emergence of virtual community, the virtual ecclesia, will radically change global religion in part because creatives-of-faith now have direct access to community formation. In virtuality, the 10% creative core no longer needs permission from 1% structural gatekeepers.” John La Grou on Cultural Creatives

The term “cultural creatives” has been around for a decade. In the late nineties, a number of us were impressed by Paul Ray’s research on “Cultural Creatives” and started using his tag for this demographic. I was even named by Dallas Morning News in a 1998 article as “Postmodern Apostle to the Cultural Creatives”. Since then, Ray’s research, and subsequent research by Richard Florida who used the term “Creative Class”, has appeared occasionally in our writings and teachings.

“Paul Ray, from the Institute of Noetic Studies, came up with three groupings of American people in the mid Nineties. The Traditionals (29%) who are usually older in age, The Moderns (47%), who make up the mainstream and Cultural Creatives (24%) who represent the emerging culture and are the only group that is growing. His studies show that the Traditionals have much in common with the Cultural Creatives.

Ray divides the Cultural Creatives into two groups:

The Greens (13% of US adult population) who focus on social and environmental issues, and The Core Cultural Creatives (11%) who value spiritual integration. This Core group are the leading edge thinkers, says Ray, and twice as many of them are women than men.”

Andrew Jones, Postmodernism and Global WorldViews, The Ooze, 2002

But back to the 1% superstar church leaders and the 10% creative priesthood. I have noticed a number of younger ministries [trying to avoid the “emerging” word here] recently shift from a key-solo-big-hairy-man-on-stage-leader situation to a shared leadership of a much larger group. Jesus Freaks, in Germany, for example, have just decentralized leadership to a much group of leaders who will guide the ministry into the future.

“So the new leadership team does not only consist of three people, as it used to, but about 35 people.” “Deaconry team elected for Germany at Willo Freak”

Thats about 10% of their number. Joe might be right. Hmmmmm. . . . interesting!

Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name “Precious” :-)

5 Comments

  • Andrew – here’s my Q – how do we continue to nurture these cultural creatives so that they don’t implode? As a journalist I want to highlight where God is working in the world today. But my experience is that at times after I (and others) have profiled a ministry, those in the ministry have caught the “fame bug” by being placed in the spotlight. (Some ministers get the purpose of such pieces and can put things in perspective but others don’t.) If this fame game continues, then this communal spirit morphs into one-man shows replete with self-appointed experts, conferences, and publishing deals. I get needing to make money and I welcome hearing from people like you re: creative ways to fund our work. But I’m talking about that transformation from conveying a message to being “the message” (aka religious rock star).

  • We are wrestling with this at Little Flowers Community. I am desperate to dismantle leadership models and expectations that has me (as pastor) to be the authority. After all, functionally it just means my advice gets ignored and I get blamed for any problems (wink). Seriously though, we are trying to move towards a model of community discernment and leadership. One of the challenges we face is the dynamics of a community made up of people from the inner city who face (at times) a higher level of crisis life dynamics (i.e. higher numbers of mental illness, addiction, poverty, abuse- both received and given, etc.). There are times in this context when there isn’t a group to lead with.
    Peace,
    Jamie

  • Philosophers constantly haggle between poles when articulating the problem of the one and the many; traditional Trinitarian philosophy resolves this almost by Fiat: only the Triune God can be “both one, and many.”
    So, the problem and challenge of leadership today can be articulated in these same terms: “one” and “many.” Dictator, one hairy man on stage? One. Group cooperative team approach? Many.
    Which do we choose? The solution here, as elsewhere, is not “either-or” but some version of the “both-and” approach that Trinitarian Leaders can take.
    This “both-and” approach, while grounded in historic Christianity, is also incidentally a hallmark of the new Creative Class, a group of people who refuse to accept the old dichotomies, and are passionately searching for Third Ways in all walks of life.
    Good article, thanks for posting.

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