Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gordon MacDonald on Church Leadership

From Christianity Today online

Gordon MacDonald's articles and books are insightful and are always worth the reading. I like this article where he applies principles from Jim Collins' book How the Mighty Fall to church leadership.

What it takes to prevent congregational decline.
Gordon MacDonald | posted 11/29/2009

How a Mighty Church Falls

Soon after I finished my theological education, I was asked to become pastor of a congregation in Southern Illinois. This was my first great awakening to the realities of pastoral leadership, and it was an uncomfortable experience.

The skills (or gifts) that led the congregation to invite me to be their spiritual leader were probably my enthusiasm, my preaching, and my apparent ability, even as a young man, to reach out to people and make them feel cared for.

The position description called for me to report to a board of deacons who, while well-intentioned, were not highly experienced in organizational leadership. It also said that I was responsible to lead a staff that consisted of a secretary, a Christian education assistant, two day-school teachers, a part-time choir director, and a janitor.

What it didn't say was that the congregation was seriously divided and disillusioned due to an acrimonious split in which the previous pastor had persuaded a hundred people to join him in leaving the church to form a new one down the road.

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