It is a business just like any other business. It needs a structure that best enables its leaders to meet targets and increase buy-in or it will fail. Relying on the old ways of doing things is just resistance to change. The research has been done, the polling complete, now it’s time to put it into practice.Our point people have studied all the necessary texts and they are prepared to defend our strategic allotment of resources to bring our plans to fruition. We have a vision and a mission statement that has taken diligent preparation so that every point, every sentence has some sort of corresponding biblical reference. We make sure that everything we come up with can be painted as Godly so that those who object can be forced to concede. We are the church, an institution that was in need of a better business plan and now we have it.
Our problem is just a new strategic leadership approach away from being solved.
I must admit I have gained from leadership seminars and blogs. I find it difficult to disagree with what they say and yet to follow their instructions seems to fall short. At the top of the list of leadership musts is proper communication, who could argue with that? Somewhere below that is the idea of surrounding yourself with people who share your vision, sounds like a good way to get things done. Further down the list is a chart on the way different personalities view the same information and insight into how these personalities can be caught up in conflict because of their differing perspectives, who wouldn’t want to get out in front of these potential issues?
Why didn’t Jesus adopt these strategic leadership ideas?
Think about it, if Jesus just communicated better or at least told more jokes during His sermons, maybe laid off the Pharisees a bit, things may have gone better. If His leadership team included only those who shared His vision, Judas wouldn’t have been a part of it and things would have turned out differently. If Jesus had better understood the personalities He was dealing with maybe He would have explained things in a way that Peter would better understand which may have avoided Peter denying he knew Jesus.
If it applies to the management of the biggest companies it must apply to the leadership of the smallest church.
This statement is both true and false at the same time. I know this sounds crazy but it is possible to be both right and wrong at the same time. If we create parallels between the positions in a company and the positions in a church we can apply much of the research on leadership to both institutions. Good communication between the management (pastoral staff/ board) and the employees (congregation) is very important. Surrounding yourself with management (pastoral staff/ board) who share the same vision will make it easier to get buy-in from the employees (congregation). Finding different ways to present ideas so that all personality types can understand will make for a more peaceful company (church) environment. If the management (pastoral staff/ board) and the employees (congregation) don’t work out, get rid of them and hire someone new, after all we are a growth business and anything that isn’t the way we want it needs to go. This is where the application of strategic leadership practices in business cannot be transferred to the church.
Business results are measured in economic growth, church results are measured in personal growth.
In business, leaders must do what it takes to grow the company. If someone gets in the way they are gone. In the church it is different. The leaders of the church are there to help the people grow in their faith. Those who get in the way are the very ones who need to grow. There is a lot to learn from strategic leadership training but its application in the church must be approached differently. Godly leadership isn’t about you, it’s about everyone you interact with. You communicate well because it is God’s life changing words that you are communicating. You surround yourself with people who share your vision because you have adopted God’s vision not your own. You study people and their personalities so that you can better understand them and help them grow.
In business we transform the company by removing those who get in the way. In church we transform people who get in the way so that they can be part of the transformation of those who do not follow The Way.
Jesus worked with the twelve He had. One didn’t work out so well, but He already knew that was going to happen and He still didn’t give up. The rest ran away at the first sign of trouble, but Jesus already knew that was going to happen and He still didn’t give up. The effect of Jesus on the transformation of the disciples led to an explosion of transformations using these same disciples. Our leadership should work the same way. Our leadership must be a part of God transforming people which then leads to God working through those transformed to transform others. Godly leadership isn’t about you.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer… Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42 & 46-47 (NIV)