This is the great tragedy of the church in the last fifty years: We have changed Paul’s words, “Follow me as I follow Christ,” to “Follow me as I lead for Christ.” Leonard Sweet, I Am a Follower.
So, ladies and gentlemen…our subject tonight is Maturity and Qualifications for Leadership.
Gulp. Here we go.
If you read my last blog entry, you know that the subject I was assigned to cover in this leadership training class had nothing controversial in it. The notes were pretty straight-forward and based on leadership training material that has been used successfully in countless Vineyard churches over the last two decades or more.
But God has been transforming my world-view lately. Over the last several years, God has gotten a hold of my traditional, church-growth-oriented, ‘bigger is better’ and ‘more is successful’ mindset. Through a difficult season of dismantling and perceived failure, much of the work I’ve done in pastoral ministry at the Vineyard church I planted in Cedar Rapids, Iowa over the last nineteen years, has been uprooted, re-arranged, and re-evaluated. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, As I See It, you know how I’ve told my story of how God has begun dismantling in me what I now call my reliance upon the 3-B’s.
To review, the 3-B’s represent a sickness for most of us in the Americanized church, where ‘bigger is always better’ and when going from ‘good to great’ becomes our primary mantra. 3-B pastors, for example, evaluate our ‘success’ (or lack of it) by measuring (B)uilding size, (B)ucks in the offering, and the number of (B)utts in the seats. If these 3-B’s add up to a pretty impressive score, we feel great. But let any of these 3-B’s take a nose-dive and suddenly we feel as though God has forsaken us and we’re no longer fit for the role of dog-catcher, let alone serving as a pastor of any ‘successful’ church.
So, with that little bit of background taken care of, my dear readers, let’s get back to the classroom. Our subject tonight: Maturity and Qualifications for Leadership.
OK, class. Let’s start here. Let’s define what you and I would call ‘successful church leadership’. In other words, let’s write down the words that come to mind when we think about ‘successful church leaders’. What nouns or adjectives would you use in defining those men and women who are truly successful in their Christian leadership roles?
Next time, I’ll give you the answers we came up with that evening.
In the meantime, here’s your homework assignment. Why don’t you take a crack at that list of top qualities of successful Christian leadership yourself? We’ll compare lists next time.
Ready? Set? Go.
My prayer: Father God, I see, in Your Word, many men and women who are used powerfully by You as leaders of Your people. In the coming days, may You reveal to me the truest qualifications for leadership in the Body of Christ. Holy Spirit, help me learn and discern. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: What words come to mind when I think about describing ‘successful’ church leadership? What nouns or adjectives would I use in defining those men and women who are truly successful in their Christian leadership roles?
So, what is God speaking to you today as we ask the question, To Lead Or Not To Lead?
As I see it, something needs to change in the way we define ‘successful’ Christian leadership. And the question today should not be, ‘Do we need leadership?’ but rather, ‘What kind of leaders is God asking men and women to be? Over a four-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at this question. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our To Lead Or Not To Lead? home page for ease of use. ENJOY!