Churches, no matter how much we seem to try to make them, simply are not organizationally parallel to corporations of any kind. They have a different mission, a different style of leadership, and a different set of criteria that determine success and failure. For people like me who’ve grown up in the Western world, it is sometimes hard for us to visualize how the church should be different that any of the other businesses or organizations we are apart of. This all begins with the church’s leadership.
In case there is any uncertainty about who leads the church, let’s be crystal clear from the beginning: JESUS CHRIST is the author, the savior, the bridegroom, and the head of the church. Nobody is ruling in his place until he comes again. He is it. Of course, the church does have earthly leadership as well, but these leaders are unlike anything else we see in our society. If they are functioning in the best way possible, our congregational leaders—specifically the evangelists and the shepherds—are able to provide dynamic leadership in direct proportion to their ability to be dynamic followers.
That’s right. The best leaders in our churches are the best followers.
Unless and until we all intentionally mimic the leadership modeled by Christ, we will not reach our potential as leaders in his church. We must first learn how to follow Him in every way. This includes sacrifice, devotion to the Father’s will, the training and mentoring of others, the development of prayerful hearts, and the ability to say “not my will but yours be done.”
We could be Fortune 500’s CEO of the Year and never effectively lead the church. It’s just not the same thing. This doesn’t mean, however, that effective corporate leaders cannot be effective church leaders. It only means that either they are so talented that they can effectively use multiple leadership/management styles, or else it means that they’re so good that they’ve learned to apply the principles of biblical leadership to their corporate relationships.
So, God, please help us learn to be the followers you need us to be so that we can effectively guide other followers to you. You alone have the wisdom we need to survive and thrive, and it is your will that we want so desperately to guide us. Please help us as we fulfill our ministries in the name of your son Jesus Christ. Amen.