This may be overstating it a bit but I think we are in a current leadership crises in the church. There are a lot of theories out on blogs and in books trying to pinpoint the membership decline in many of our churches. The term “Millennial” is thrown out there as both the problem and solution with the church. I have read scores of blog posts all saying something to the affect of, “5 Ways your church can reach the Millennial generation.”
I think the problem is more simplistic than some of these folks seem to think. I will throw my two cents in to where I think the problem is at. Read the statement below slowly and deliberately…The problem with the decline in our churches is directly correlated to her leaders. Click To Tweet
We don’t have a church attendance problem; we have a leadership problem.
I am reading a book about leadership written by two former Navy Seals who used their training and battle experience to help companies and organizations lead better. One of the quotes below highlights my thesis that we have a leadership issue:
On any team, in any organization, all responsibility for success and failure rests with the leader. The leader must own everything in his or her world. There is no one else to blame. The leader must acknowledge mistakes and admit failures, take ownership of them, and develop a plan to win. (Emphasis Mine)
Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win (p. 30).
Let the ramifications of that quote sink in a little before you read. Look at every church that has closed its doors and I guarantee you that it has been a leadership issue. From failing to adjust to the “new folks in the neighborhood” to trying to stick with a 1950s church model, our churches will rise and fall based on the leaders she has in place.
Another quote that resonated with me:
“…when it comes to standards, as a leader, it’s not what you preach, it’s what you tolerate. When setting expectations, no matter what has been said or written, if substandard performance is accepted and no one is held accountable— if there are no consequences— that poor performance becomes the new standard.”
Ibid., p. 54.
I think the church has tolerated, for too long now, substandard performance in her leaders.Our acquiescence to contentment has done nothing but give the church a mediocre influence. Click To Tweet
That’s all we are is a nice church doing safe things to make people smile. That’s not the church I read about in the New Testament. Straddling the fence of niceness is not how I interpret the actions of the apostles and early church leaders.
So here is what we need from leaders.
We need leaders in our churches who…
- Care more about the gospel than they do church politics.
- Believe the message of Jesus and share that belief with others.
- Will call out the power hungry noise-makers in church and handle them with grace and truth.
- Will empower others to lead like Jesus.
- Are not afraid to make mistakes for the sake of the kingdom.
- Are willing to try NEW things to better posture the church in the community.
- Are eager to grow the church theologically even if that means laying aside antiquated traditions.
- Are not scared of the naysayers.
- Will not tolerate vast laxity.
- Will hold her members accountable.
- Eschew passive-aggressiveness.
- Will ask the difficult questions.
- Will practice humility.
- Will serve (not on the Lord’s Table only).
- Are theologically and theopractically entrenched.
This is a brief list. I think you get the pulse of what I am trying to voice here. What are some things you would add?