Yet another leadership article (yawn) but wait . . .

Posted on April 10, 2012


Christian leadership has to be one of those topics where much gets written and little changes!

I’m the leader of a cross-cultural Christian ministry that’s in recovery after a period of bad leadership. So I’m reading everything I can lay my hands on, hoping to gain clarity and be better able to articulate recent painful lessons. But I’m usually disappointed. Maybe it’s my heightened sensitivity (or cynicism?) in this area, but it seems to me that in spite of all the well-known principles that keep circulating, we still see/hear/read examples of the same old destructive and unbiblical practices.

Here is an excellent, and very different, leadership article.

Training local people to disciple others and lead small groups. The classroom plays only a small part in the training of our workers and leaders.

“We are in a crisis of Biblical pastoral leadership. . . Why are leaders failing? Few leaders have had any training. Some leaders just wing it all their lives with constant staff turnover. Second, today’s leaders may lack the diligence to discern godly models. And, if found, they may not get the critical mentoring from these busy leaders. Many pastor-leaders try to copy large-church leaders, thinking baptisms, buildings, and budget successes equal Biblical leadership. Not necessarily. Many magnetic communicators, only observed from a distance, have private tragedies in their families and ministries when seen close-up. Also ministers often lack basic skills for common leadership demands. There is, lastly, the confusion over the conflict between secular and Biblical leadership values. Adopting many current business practices with staff people can guarantee tragedy.”  (Read the whole article.)

Dr. Waylon B. Moore (and The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make, by Dr. Han Finzel, which Dr. Moore quotes from and I have on my shelf) has helped me to see that leadership is actually discipleship (discipleship the way Jesus did it). I have always been an active discipler at the one-on-one level, but I never quite connected it to organizational leadership. I maybe did a little bit, but I was never certain enough of it to prevent a ‘top-down’, ‘paper-before-people’ kind of leader from exerting undue influence in the leadership of our ministry and causing harm.

As the article says,  “There is, lastly, the confusion over the conflict between secular and Biblical leadership values. Adopting many current business practices with staff people can guarantee tragedy.” It was the uncritical adoption of business practices that brought our ministry close to tragedy. (And there are other factors that make this doubly dangerous in a cross-cultural ministry like ours – Read No Place for Experts).

Having read this, I can see more clearly. Good leadership is rooted in biblical discipeship (by that I mean the way Jesus discipled others, which is a long way removed from what most churches call discipleship – Read Canoe without a Paddle).

Now I can see . . . the principles of good personal discipleship lead to healthy corporate leadership. And in turn, healthy corporate leadership leads to sound organisational structure.
It just cannot happen the other way around!

This is the main leadership lesson –
learned from the pain of the past 3 years
clarified as I read and meditated on Waylon Moore’s article.

What do you think about biblical discipleship leading to healthy leadership, leading to sound organizational structure?
I’d love to hear your ideas.