Thursday, August 28, 2008

Leading a Church is More Difficult Than Leading a Business

When leading a business you have the option of offering perks to attract quality employees. For instance, you can say, “Here’s our company mission and this is your part in it. Here’s your salary, your perks, company car, cell phone, computer, your office, pay-package, and vacation plan. If you work hard, in eight-to-ten years we’ll make you a partner or invite you into the profit-sharing plan. Down the road you are going to make big money. Are you interested?”

Who wouldn’t be interested in an offer like that?

But as church leaders, what do we tell our prospective church members? It goes something like this: “You are a lost sinner who is headed for big trouble with God unless you make things right.” (And that’s the good news we call the gospel).

Then we say, "We're going to ask you to commit five or six hours a week to service and two or three additional hours for training and discipleship. We're going to ask you to get in a small group where your character flaws are going to get exposed and chiseled at. We're going to ask you to come under the authority of the pastors of the church and challenge you to give a minimum of 10 percent of your money. Oh, yeah, you get no parking place, no reserved seats, no special privileges, no preferential treatment, no vacation or retirement program. You serve till you die. But trust us: God is going to make it right in eternity."

CONCLUSION: What kind of person would be interested in an offer like that? Only those who are motivated internally. To mobilize an utterly volunteer organization (like a church) requires the highest kind of leadership – the ability to inspire and gather. We cannot compel people or bribe them; we must call them.