(Editor's note: Our article with Andy Stanley published in the Spring 2006 issue of Leadership won first-place interview in the recent Evangelical Press Association awards. The judge wrote that the conversation was so engaging, he forgot he was reading a contest entry. We had a similar experience while talking with Andy at his Alpharetta, Georgia, office. Despite the photographer's lights and the tape recorder, it seemed more like good table talk than a magazine interview. We thought you might like to sit in with us for some of the chat we had at North Point Community Church.)

Leadership: What is distinctly spiritual about the kind of leadership you do?

Andy Stanley: There's nothing distinctly spiritual. I think a big problem in the church has been the dichotomy between spirituality and leadership. One of the criticisms I get is "Your church is so corporate." I read blogs all the time. Bloggers complain, "The pastor's like a CEO." And I say, "OK, you're right. Now, why is that a bad model?"

A principle is a principle, and God created all the principles.

So what's the principle behind the CEO model?

"Follow me." Follow we never works. Ever. It's "follow me." God gives a man or a woman the gift of leadership. And any organization that has a point leader with accountability and freedom to use their gift will do well. Unfortunately in the church world, we're afraid of that. Has it been abused? Of course. But to abandon the model is silly.

Churches should quit saying, "Oh, that's what business does." That whole attitude is so wrong, and it hurts the church.

In terms of the shifting culture, I say thanks to guys like Bill Hybels and others who have been unafraid to say we have a corporate side of our ministry; it's going to be the best ...

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