Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Leadership is only for the Willow Creek guys, right?

I listen to leadership podcasts, read leadership books and have leadership mentors who I allow to tell me the hard things that I need to hear. I know that I'm not the most gifted leader...I'm probably the tree that bears fruit tenfold while I recognize that others will produce 50 or 100-fold as Jesus said in His parable. As I listen to leadership resources, it seems to me that the attitudes of the guys who talk the most about leadership is that -  if you don't follow their model, you're probably not bold enough to be a leader and you need to get out of the way and let someone else do what they're doing.

The leadership gurus like Bill Hybles, Andy Stanley and Perry Noble are no doubt great leaders. They know how to lead an organization by growing an organization into a well oiled machine. These guys know how to get people behind them and how to multiply their influence and reproduce their ideas in thousands of people. What bothers me when I listen to their stuff, is that they seem to suggest that their brand of how to do church (I.E. Willow Creek model) is the only way to really grow your organization and to be a real leader, you have to be willing to abandon the traditional models that don't "work" anymore and do what they've done to be considered a successful leader. In Andy Stanley's leadership podcast on October 8th this past year, he mentioned that when he was at Willow Creek back in the 90's, he realized that he didn't have any of the stuff of a traditional pastor: being a shepherd, counselor, patient, kind, etc..., but he knew after hearing Hybles talk about leadership that he was a leader! Well, that's probably true, and I wish Andy, Bill, Perry and a lot of these other Christian entertainment tycoons would get out of leading the church and go into secular business where they belong like John Maxwell did.

If you're a pastor who is enamored by these guys, you need to realize something really important. They may be great at leadership, but they could also be really great at leading in the wrong direction. I get so frustrated reading Ed Stetzer books because he often will address real problems with some really biblical solutions and point to churches like Saddleback and Willow Creek as examples of what he's explaining. AAARRRGGGGG!!!! No, they're not the examples of Biblical church ministry! They do not have the solutions to the chruch's problems... They ARE the problem!

Look, go ahead and listen to what they have to say about organization, building a team, making hard decisions and all the other stuff that leaders need coaching on, but for God's sake (and I really do mean that), don't model your church after their entertainment-style ministry. History is full of men who were great leaders, but led people in the wrong these guys:
A great leader! This man's influence reaches across three centuries now and he still has millions of followers. One of them almost became President of the United States. His organization that he founded is one of the richest in the world: Joseph Smith, Founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The most dynamic leader that the church has ever known. He single handedly turned over 300 years of Reformed Protestant tradition and theology and today, most Christian churches are still heavily influenced by this man: Charles Finney, revivalist of the 1800's

Great leader! This man inspired millions.  Even Beethoven's first symphony was dedicated to him. This man almost conquered the world: Napoleon Bonaparte, self crowned King of France.

Great leader. His face is still seen on thousands of T-Shirts today, usually worn by ingnorant, hispanic teenagers. He helped lead a revolution in Cuba that brought in Communism which is still very much in force today. His influence lives on well beyond his years: Che Guevara, Communist Revolutionary and murderer.
The most extraordinary leader of the scientific community who wrote a book in 1859 that has become the standard text for all modern science. His leadership and influence has changed the entire world over the last 150+ years! Charles Darwin, Science fiction writer.

 By far, the most influential leader of the 20th Century who changed more lives than anyone else since the Roman Ceasaars of 2000 years ago! (he changed them from being alive to being dead) The man who almost exterminated an entire race of people, a man who won the hearts of millions of  his countrymen, the man who led the entire world into a World War: Adolf Hitler, Chancellor, Dictator, Murderer, Author

Just because they're good at leading people and organizations, doesn't mean that where they are taking you with their leadership is such a good idea.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great article - one upon which the homeschooling community needs ponderance. Vision Forum, anyone?