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Why You Should Be Thankful if Your Pastor Behaves Like a CEO

Toward a New Generation of Leaders

So what should the next generation of pastors do?


Lead humbly. Lead with compassion. Lead with care.

But understand that sometimes leading with compassion means doing what’s best for people … not simply doing what people want. If first-century shepherds did that, the sheep would be dead.

Quite simply, the job of a leader is to take people where they wouldn’t otherwise go.

You may be called to take people to the Promised Land, but people always want to go back to Egypt.

It takes tremendous strength, exceptional courage, trust, humility and a willingness to die to self to accomplish the mission to which God has called the church.

This kind of leadership shift will mean the demise of the people-pleasing, co-dependent leader who longs to be liked. But maybe that’s OK.

The church needs thousands of new leaders who are willing to be incredibly unpopular but will resolve to do what needs to be done.

Some days I wonder how many Christian CEOs of small and large companies might have been in ministry if our model, expectations and attitude were different.

Next Time Your Pastor Behaves Like a CEO

So what would make this situation better?

Think twice before you say the church needs more shepherds. Or if you do talk about the need for shepherds, talk about the kind of shepherd David was. We sure need more of those.

And think three times before you slam the idea of church leaders being CEOs.

Read a book like Jim Collins’ Good to Great.

Think more deeply about whether the church needs more entrepreneurs. (For reasons outlined here, I believe that’s exactly what we need.)

Realize that truly great CEOs often model exactly what scripture talks about in terms of great leadership, and that maybe our entire mission would advance if we valued those gifts more deeply.

And finally, next time someone says your pastor is behaving like a (Level 5) CEO, be thankful.

More people might be in heaven because of it.

If you want to drill down further, I wrote much more about why the vast majority of churches don’t grow in my latest bookLasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Can Help Your Church Grow.

What Do You Think?

I realize this is an emotional subject, so play nice in the comments.

But what do you think?

Is the quick dismissal of potentially effective leadership in the church hurting us? How?