Discipling leadership, not management

That heavy breathing you’re hearing is me putting down my Kindle and rushing back to my laptop keyboard to share these notes from Mike Breen.

Yea, these are observations that I have intuitively felt since I became a pastor. My Bachelor’s degree is in Business Management, I worked in corporate finance for twenty years. I’m certainly not averse to applying management principles, but every time it came up in discussions in church, I resisted 5-year plans, church-growth, mission statements. These have their place but as Breen observes:

“The Church is crying out for leaders who model a life worth imitating. Dan Kimball puts it this way: “Leadership in the emerging church is no longer about focusing on strategies, core values, mission statements, or church-growth principles. It is about leaders first becoming disciples of Jesus with prayerful, missional hearts that are broken for the emerging culture. All the rest will flow from this, not the other way around.” (Mike Breen Building a Discipling Culture on Kindle) Ya! Amen and Amen. As a pastor I have learned you do not “manage” church. Sure there are times when you have to apply the principles, but if you are busy “managing” and not open to the moving of the Holy Spirit, well frankly, you are in the wrong “business”.

“We need leaders who will step out of “managing church” and make discipling others their primary objective. The time has come to humbly acknowledge before God that we have failed to train men and women to lead in the style of Jesus. Whether through ignorance or fear, we have taken the safe option, training pastors to be theologically sound and effective managers of institutions rather than equipping them with the tools they need to disciple others.”

Yea, as Breen points out, we are being “managed” to death. I haven’t seen anyone in any sector of society who would disagree. No doubt we have different reasons, but we need leadership and we certainly need it in the church, which for too long has been a spiritual enabler versus, a spiritual leader. A  working understanding of discipleship will make any church a place that will be used by the Holy Spirit.

A further amen to the following: “the Church is the best place to offer a genuine model of leadership. We have Jesus’ example to learn from and to share with the rest of the world. When we take on the lifestyle of Jesus as a leader, those outside the Church will see and respond. This is not just a message to senior pastors— Jesus calls us all to be leaders. The commission to go and make disciples is a call for leaders—you are leading when you are making a disciple.” Yea, I know Jesus ain’t a Type A Wall St type. I think we would all agree that is a good thing. Why would we then “lead” His church, by those kind of principles and the answer is of course, NO.

Our “business” is to be “fishers of men” and then to go and make disciples. Anything that interferes with that is not of God and is not about helping us to live under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and salvation in Him.

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