I was recently with the youngest Megachurch pastor in America and asked him what excited and concerned him. It was interesting for him to point out that the emergence of ‘celebrity pastors’ was one of his greatest concerns. He went on to explain that the tyranny of comparison can be devastating. For churches that are in decline or stagnant this can be even more devastating. I am seeing pastors driven to grow rather than being led by the Spirit to follow His path. Often times we start reorganizing our ministries to produce great results. For leaders finding themselves in this situation, I have a word:
For the past 15 years, the OneHope leadership has implemented solid organizational planning from the likes of Peter Drucker, John C. Maxwell, Seth Godin, and Patrick Lencioni. However, as great as the advice and praxis from these men might be, we at OneHope have always sought, above all else, to be Spirit Led.
“What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use — men of prayer, men mighty in prayer.” ― E.M. Bounds, Power Through Prayer
Our best laid plans fall subservient to the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. As a Church or ministry organization, growth is a fruit of having a heavenly vision, abiding in Him and being led by the Spirit. Organizational planning is merely a stewardship tool. It helps effectively guide us toward the God-given objectives of the vision He has entrusted to us.
Henry Blackaby says, “Find out where God is working and join Him there.” Sadly, struggling churches and ministries are desperately looking left and right to see what’s working somewhere else and giving it a try. I would encourage these leaders to dig in with the Lord. Revive your heart and mind by BEING with Him so you can clearly hear His voice for your specific call. There is nothing wrong with adopting and applying the best practices, planning, and methods – but the vision is God given, not man made.
I think Paul’s instructions to the church represents the twofold responsibility of being Spirit Led while at the same time applying judgement and discernment to organizational practices: