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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

29 Jan '14

Organizational pride and its impact on ministry

Posted by T.J. Addington in humble leaders, humility, organizational pride, pride
The problem of pride does not just impact individuals. It infects churches and Christian organizations as well. And it's impact is just as insidious.

The root of organizational pride is usually found in a period of "success" sometime in the ministry's history - the glory days if you will. For churches this is usually when they had the largest attendance and they were a big deal in the community. Years later, even with new circumstances and different numbers, those years are remembered and in the corporate memory they are still "a big deal." Even when in decline, years later, many churches believe they are still back in the glory days.

Like individual pride, organizational pride has its consequences. Pride keeps us from seeing our current reality. Pride keeps us from getting help. Pride keeps us from understanding that times have changed and so must we. Pride keeps us from learning from others - after all we are the experts. At all levels, organizational pride is a cancer that erodes our effectiveness and holds us back.

It is also a foolish posture because no organization stays at the top of the list forever. Ironically many ministries have the greatest pride long after the big time is over. And it keeps them from moving into a new future of productive ministry. 

Humility is not only the posture of a mature ministry but it is the key to moving from one period of ministry to another. A humble ministry does not get stuck in a past period of productivity since it has nothing to prove in the present. Humble ministries learn, grow, re-invent and focus on the present and future while prideful ministries focus on that period of success in their past: a crucial difference. 

I have worked with ministries who were immensely successful in a period of their ministry. That success made them resistant to the very changes that were needed to move to a new level of ministry effectiveness. They didn't want to hear that what got you to here will not get you to there. Their pride got in the way of seeing what they needed to see to move forward.

A period of success can fuel pride and in an ironic twist, that pride keeps us from moving forward in the present. Resist it if you are a leader. Humble ministries are far more nimble and change friendly than prideful ministries. Humble ministries have nothing to prove and nothing to lose.