Utilitarian Relational Leadership: The Myth!

Homola’s essay asserts that by buying into consumerism, church leadership has fallen prey to the commodification of humanity and a utilitarian use of people in the name of bigger and better programs.  In the process it has left behind the life-breathing relational nature of its God and its people. He contends that this problem is significant because people are dying void of dignity and purpose inside and outside our churches.  In the process of making church attractive, leaders in the church have commodified human
identity, and are in need of a revisiting of what Trinitarian leadership really looks like. His paper briefly analyzes the problem of consumerism as it affects the church, focusing on the commodification of human value and the subsequent turn to utilitarian use of humanity.  Homola presents his vision
of a two-part solution to this problem: the Triune relationality of God as it impacts the value of humanity—and its subsequent impact on leadership philosophy.

Utilitarian Relational Leadership: The Myth!

5 Responses to “Utilitarian Relational Leadership: The Myth!”

  1. Greg Fellman Says:


    OK, so I admit I had to look up the definition of “commodification”!? I think you have a lot of interesting and valid points. Too often we put programs and processes first and in essence forget about the people and relationships – especially the ones running the programs. It is easy to get caught up in making the church too much like our society and culture and leave out the work of the Holy Spirit in the body and in peoples lives.

    There is a fine line here though, much like Paul who said he could “be all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some”. The issue I struggle with is how do we keep the work of the Spirit and the relationships with the Father and with people at the forefront as we minister and try to be missional and contextual in the communities we are in?

  2. Milan H. Says:

    My Dear Brother Greg,
    I so greatly appreciate your response and even more so your desire to read and process the subject matter. I’m sorry that you had to look up “commodification,” but you know that I have to use such words if I’m going to justify the thousands and thousands I’ve spent on my education 🙂
    Anyhow, I find your last statement to be the most direct and at the center of the “missional” debate. I thought over the questions you raise about the struggle to keep work of Spirit, relationship to Father at the “forefront” but still give some attention to being missional. I would like to humbly suggest that all three are done together, without any subordination. First, John 17:21-24 Jesus is expressing his desire for our oneness with each other and to God. The way he prays suggests that in itself, relationship with God is automatically “missional” in the way it impacts our engagement of the community around us.
    Second, in doing the work of the Spirit Jesus tells us what our perspective should be in Matt. 5:16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” It is our contextualization, the specific ways we touch our neighborhoods, that shows men our work with the ultimate goal of shining the light of Christ upon them.
    The major point I’m trying to make is that growth in our relationship with God and ministering to the church cannot be as meaningful and deep if we aren’t being stretched to serve those who are in most need. In reality they are all intricately related because when we think growing closer to God can be done solely without stepping out in faith to serve our neighbor we have limited the scope and depth of the Love of God.
    I’m sorry if I have been unclear in anyway….I just hope this starts more dialogue. Blessings to you Greg….we miss you and your family very much.

  3. Craig Says:

    Good read brother!! I have been impacted a lot recently by digging into the relationship of the Trinity. This encourages me, “Instead we as leaders submit to the Triune God who bestowed on us His image of communal identity and love.”
    I love this quote. Thanks for the reminder that God’s work is cummunal in nature and that we are to love out of that nature.

    As a pastor I need to be constantly reminded not to look at someone as a number or what I can get out of them. It’s real easy to fall into that trap. Too often we lead people into the program and we don’t lead them to be missional in their everyday lives. I have come to the conclusion if we are left to build and equip people to run a program and neglect equipping them for their community (co-workers, neighbors, family members), we are leading them into sin.

  4. Mary Says:

    “…make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise.” (Jesus, quoted in John 2: 16b)

    They were selling sheep, oxen, and doves for religious purposes. Is that so different from selling beverages, books, CDs, and kitsch with fish logos in the house of worship?

    I don’t know how one can get around that message.

  5. len Says:

    I finished Newbigin “The Open Secret” and picked up Seamands book on Trinitarian ministry. This morning I got thinking that there is a leadership paradigm in all this. did a search and VOILA. I’ll download the paper 🙂

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