Leadership is crucial to the success of any family or organization. Without strong, consistent, principled leadership, there is chaos and confusion. The unit—the family or the business—becomes unfocused and unproductive without strong, active leadership.
More than ever, this is true for the church. As Americans become more and more self-centered and as attacks on the Word of God as absolute truth become more prevalent, strong Christ-driven leadership will become crucial to the growth of the church and even the survival of many churches.
One of the key characteristics of many successful leaders is vision. They have a God-given ability to look beyond present circumstances and see obstacles and opportunities that lie ahead. Great leaders realize that “status quo” is usually a recipe for disaster. While they never change or compromise their core values, they recognize the need for the organization they lead to adapt to circumstances and conditions.
One thing that deeply concerns me is the changing roles of pastors over the last couple decades. With an emphasis on church growth and finances, many pastors tell me they just don’t have the time to meet with as many of their church members as they used to. Many pastors are forced to wear too many hats—CEO, CFO, marketing manager, building maintenance.
And look at some of the mega churches out there. They seem to be more like corporations than churches. Rick Warren and Bill Hybels share plans on how to help churches grow in numbers—but what are we sacrificing for this growth in numbers? Our churches may be growing in numbers—but is God interested in big numbers? Or is God interested in transformed hearts and lives?
One need only look at some of the statistics to see the trouble we are in. Divorce rate among born again Christians is just as high as the secular community. And only one third of those who profess to be born again Christians continue to believe the bible is absolute truth.
My deepest concern is this: When real trials and tribulations hit the church, will the sheep scatter? Or will they stand strong, united on the truth of God’s Word? Are we sacrificing spiritual growth of individual members for numerical growth of the church?
It always comes down to leadership. The flock will generally respond in direct proportion to the strength and conviction of the leader. And make no mistake, the enemy is carefully positioning his chess pieces for one big final attack on the bride of Christ. As Islam and secular humanism attack the church from the outside—and emergent and social justice forces attack from within—the church is being set up for a great battle for its very soul.
How will the church in America respond? In direct proportion to its leadership. If we as leaders commit ourselves to what is really important to God—transformed hearts and lives—the church as a whole will do fine. But if we continue to focus more on finances and growth in numbers—things of this world—we will find ourselves in a heap of trouble. Those we lead will give in to the pressures and worries of this world, abandoning our faith for temporal security.
Leaders, the burden is upon us to lead as Jesus led. He built the foundation of his church knowing he would give his very life for it. He has called leaders forward for such a time as this—a time when the enemy is attempting to rattle the very foundation of our faith with deception and half truths. Will we act like leaders of this world—more concerned for ourselves than those we lead, giving in to pressure? Or will we be a shepherd like David—fighting off bears and wolves while manned with only a staff and sling shot, confident that God will protect us?
It’s always about leadership.
- Bill Hybels on CEO Howard Schultz’s Withdrawal: ‘Buy a Starbucks and
- Family First in Youth Discipleship and Evangelism (thegospelcoalition.org)
- Submit, But Hold Leaders Accountable (standupforthetruth.com)
- Signs Your Church is Going Seeker-Sensitive (standupforthetruth.com)
- Jesus, Get With the Times Man! (standupforthetruth.com)