Don Miller: Who Should Lead the Church–Plumbers or Scholars?

Practitioners care about what works, what gets things done. They have to agree because there are projects on the line. Educators don’t have to agree at all. They can fight and debate and write papers against each other because, well, the product they are churning out is just thought, not action.

So why are we led by teachers? After all, the church and the school system are the only institutions in our culture led purely by academics. Well, the reason is the printing press. The government once controlled the church, but that ended when the printing press was invented and people could read the Bible for themselves. And the scholars were the only people who could read, so they got the job of church leadership by default. So church leadership went from fishermen, to government workers, to scholars. I wonder who’s next? I’ve got money on music executives, if only because they’re all looking for work.

Because we’ve been led by scholars for so long, we have slightly distorted ideas about Christian discipleship.

If you want to grow in Christ, you should study more. Christian growth, then, is an academic path. And like educators, we only advance to become higher-level educators. The point of learning is always teaching, which produces further learning and then more teaching. The only difference between the church and another educational institution is that nobody ever graduates from the church. We just keep going to school.

But if normal people like you lead the church, won’t the church be led by heretics? Yes, and it already is.

In the great commission, Jesus graduated his first group of students. He pushed them into the world and said, “You don’t know everything, but you know enough. You’ll have a guide, and that guide will be with you always. Go and teach the world to obey my commands.” Because they were fishermen and tax gatherers, they went and did it. Did Jesus teach them for three years? Yes, he taught them by doing, in action, with people, by touching stuff, not by taking over a school and recruiting educators.

Read Page 3 >>

1
2
3
Previous article7 Deadly Sins of a Dying Church
Next articleFree Sermon Series Package: "Rules of Engagement"
Donald Miller
Don’s most recent book is called A Million Miles in a Thousand Years and it’s about how the elements of a great story can help us understand the elements of a great life. That book also hit the New York Times Bestsellers List, and inspired corporations to work with Don to improve employee engagement in their corporate vision, and customer understanding of the corporations overall narrative. Don has appeared on a diversity of television programs including NPR’s Tavis Smiley and Fox News’ The Strategy Room and has spoken for a variety of venues including the Veritas Forum at Harvard and national corporate conferences for brands such as Chic-fil-a. Don lives and works in Portland, Oregon.