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The Ministry’s Gordian Knot

Alexander the Great slashed through his Gordian knot; pastors don't have that option. To lead, the pastor must serv. How does he confront this paradox?

During the French Revolution, a general looked over his balcony at a river of people rushing through the streets toward the Bastille. Spinning on his heel he shouted to his aide, "Quick. My tunic and my sword. I am their leader and I must follow them."

A pastor is often in a similar situation as he confronts the question, "When do I lead and when do I follow?" If the church were organized as a disciplined army marching in lockstep toward a single objective, there would be no conflict. Decisions about mission, goals, strategies, and tactics would be made in the pastor-general's staff room. Every recruit would learn the two rules of military decision-making: The pastor-general is always right. And, if in doubt, obey the first rule.

Despite the vigor with which we sing "Onward, Christian Soldiers," a congregation is not an army. It can better be compared to a university faculty or a hospital staff. They are "organized anarchies." Some semblance of corporate structure is necessary to help them ...

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