Two recent interviews for the upcoming issue of Leadership (due out in mid-April) have left me scratching my head.
"What is distinctly spiritual about the kind of leadership you do?" I asked Andy Stanley. Nothing, he said. "There's nothing distinctly spiritual. I think a big problem in the church has been the dichotomy between spirituality and leadership."
His answer surprised me.
As pastor of a thriving megachurch north of Atlanta, with an additional ten satellite locations fed his sermons by video, Stanley is becoming the model for the next generation of large church pastors. Younger by about a decade than Bill Hybels and Rick Warren, Andy really seems to connect with younger leaders. We noticed it among the attenders at the annual Catalyst conferences. Organized jointly, at first, by Stanley's North Point Community Church and John Maxwell's InJoy Ministries, the Catalyst conferences have increasingly featured Andy. He is the headliner, opening the gathering as incentive for attenders to arrive on time, and presenting the closing session in hopes that they will stay to the end. It works. Andy's frequent speeches on integrity hold the crowd's attention better than Maxwell's chestnuts on momentum and irrefutable laws.
Because Andy connects well with younger leaders, who in general are bent more toward spiritual formation than church growth, I expected Andy to talk about the spiritual nature of leadership. He did not. He did talk about prayer and seeking good counsel and the crucial nature of integrity in the leaders with whom he surrounds himself; but leadership, even church leadership, is not distinctly spiritual, he said.
"I grew up in a culture where everything was overly spiritualized," Andy said. "I don't want to be a cynic, ...