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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.

16 Sep '13

Theology and leadership dichotomies

Posted by T.J. Addington in leadership
I am always bemused by the artificial dichotomy that many believers seem to have between spirituality and leadership or theology and leadership. It comes up in statements like "You cannot run a church like a business" as if all business principles are exclusive from church management: HR; budgets; plans; accountability; staff reviews; healthy teams; and the like. I want to say "really?" "Have you thought about that?"

Just recently one of those reviewing one of my books on Amazon wrote this: "He gives some good practical guidance but seems to be more from a CEO perspective than a theological one." Now that assumes that the Bible has nothing to say about leadership and teams or that good leadership and healthy teams are just that and have no spiritual significance. Do good leadership and healthy teams not matter in the ministry arena? I suspect many in the ministry arena wished their leaders had just an ounce of CEO perspective in them!

Why do we make such dichotomies? If you have ever served in a ministry capacity you know that leadership principles matter as much there as they do anywhere else. I suppose some need a proof text for everything but that is not what the Bible is for. I suspect the stakes are even higher in the ministry arena on the leadership side as the end results are eternal rather than temporal.

It is said of David that he led them with "skillful hands and integrity of heart." There you have the both and rather than the either or. Skillful hands has to do with good and wise leadership while integrity of heart has to do with the spiritual underpinnings from which that leadership came.

Don't dichotomize what God does not. It is black and white thinking that does not do justice to Scripture or the realities in which we live.