Monday, May 25, 2009

Silence is golden

I have three words of advice for all you bold and visionary pastors who are practicing creative and transformational leadership that will revolutionize church as we know it:

Please shut up.

For the past 30 years, the business press has been fascinated by Maximum CEOs, i.e. bold and visionary individuals whose creative and transformative leadership have yada yada yada.

You know -- leaders such as Jack Welch at General Electric.

Or Kenneth Lay at Enron.

And for the past 20 years, the religious press has been fascinated by Maximum Pastors, i.e. bold and visionary individuals whose creative and innovative . . .

Okay, you know what I'm talking about.

And you know who I'm talking about as well.

Unfortunately, it turns out that Maximum CEOs make lousy role models -- and for every one who succeeds, there are ten who take profitable companies and run them into the ground. No, the best CEOs are usually quiet, modest men and women who look for incremental changes, not dramatic breakthroughs.

In short, they may be boring.

But that's not necessarily a bad thing.

I suspect the same is true of pastors -- and while I don't want to denigrate the legitimate achievements of the Maximum Pastors among us, I'm not sure they're good role models. For every Saddleback or Willow Creek, after all, there have been a hundred local churches whose pastor saw the video, read the book, tried to be a transformational leader . . .

And transformed themselves right out of a job.

No, I'm not against change. I'm not against vision. And I realize that getting fired is not necessarily a sign of failure in God's eyes.

But I've seen too many pastors make a lot of noise about all the wonderful things they're going to do in their church -- pastors who inspired other pastors to try those same, wonderful things . . . only to discover their "vision" was no match for reality.

So do good work.

Try new things.

And if God gives you a vision for your church, then yes, you might even risk "transformation."

But please, don't tell anybody about it . . .

Not until your results can speak for themselves.


Hanan Merrill said...

Man, thank you for that encouragement. I need to be reminded of this!

Ansku said...


Noah said...

I've heard the adage "Great men have great faults". The reason is, many men drawn to leadership positions are there for the sake of their ego. It's the same in our church pastors. There are a significant percentage who are in ministry for the sake of ego.