Susan Beaumont: Leading in an in-between season | 1/21/2020 | Staff
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Today’s church leaders often feel disoriented or lost -- even like failures.

But in these liminal moments when the way forward is not clear, it’s important to pause and draw upon the practice of discernment rather than forge ahead with false confidence, says consultant and author Susan Beaumont, who addresses the quandary in her book “How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going: Leading in a Liminal Season.”

Season - Times - Something - Thing - Beaumont

“It’s a season in between times, when something has ended but a new thing is not yet ready to begin,” Beaumont said.

“It’s a place of extreme disorientation that people have a tremendous longing to get out of, and so there is always a tremendous yearning in liminality to either go backwards to something that felt more stable or to leap forward to something that feels more resolved.”

Consultant - Alban - Institute - Beaumont - MBA

A former senior consultant with the Alban Institute, Beaumont has an MBA from Northwestern University and an M.Div. from McCormick Theological Seminary. She is also a graduate of the spiritual guidance program of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation.

Beaumont spoke to Faith & Leadership’s Sally Hicks about helpful stances and practices for leaders who are struggling in a liminal season. The following is an edited transcript.

Faith - Leadership - Liminality - Church - Today

Faith & Leadership: What is liminality, and how does it apply to the church today?

Susan Beaumont: The simplest way to describe liminality is to say that it’s a threshold moment. Liminality is the in-between space when you are neither here nor there, and it’s a very rich time organizationally and institutionally for an organization to rediscover a lot about itself and to become highly creative.

Challenge - Liminality - Disorientation - Kind - Leadership

The challenge of liminality is that because of the disorientation, it requires a fundamentally different kind of leadership stance than what we typically value as effective leadership.

Typically, we’re looking for people that have clarity of vision, who...
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