'It's not a job, it's not CSD's job for you to do a needs assessment'. Pastor Li sounds frustrated with his fellow pastor. Pastor Li, a dynamic young man, heads up the local Church Service Department (CSD) which is a small Chinese NGO.
He has a great ability to bring diverse people together and to inspire church leaders with vision. But many local church leaders still look to the CSD to do most of the work. It's as if responsibility for the second greatest commandment that Jesus gave us 'to love your neighbour as yourself' (Matthew 22v39) has been delegated out to the CSD and it's no longer the role of local churches to live this out.
In a discussion a few days later we ask CSD leaders to think about the current roles of all the different groups involved in their HIV work. They all see the CSD as leading and local churches and communities implementing or benefiting. But then we ask them to reflect on John the Baptist's statement that 'he [Jesus] must become greater, I must become less'. In the light of this they realise that they want local churches and vulnerable people to increasingly shape the work themselves.
I notice the value of these questions 'who is leading?' and 'who should be leading?' I think they are good questions to also challenge ourselves. Do we sometimes lead when we should be helping others to lead? Maybe we too need to become less so that others can become greater.