Jump directly to the Content

Leader's Insight: Yes, Ministry Leadership Is Complex

When business people offer free advice, we should say, "It's not that easy."

My friend runs a company with about 3,000 employees. He says he wants to relax after retirement and lead a church. He said, "It doesn't have to be a Willow Creek-sized church. Maybe just 7,000 or 8,000 with some growth potential." I told him that leading a church would ruin his retirement, because the church demands a higher and more complex form of leadership than business does. In fact, I believe the church is the most leadership-intensive enterprise in society.

I've been on both sides. Running a business is challenging, but the leader of a company has a clearly defined playing field and enormous leverage with his or her employees. The business leader delivers a product or service through paid staff who either get it done or get replaced.

Church leadership is far more complex than that. The redeeming and rebuilding of human lives is exceedingly more difficult than building widgets or delivering predictable services. Here's why:

1. Every life requires a custom mold.

You don't stop the line ...

January/February
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Preaching When Parched: our interview with the late, great Gardner C. Taylor
Preaching When Parched: our interview with the late, great Gardner C. Taylor
The preaching icon's reflections on desolate spirituality, "aridity," and the hope of home.
From the Magazine
In Christian Publishing, ‘Platform’ Is Being Weighed and Found Wanting
In Christian Publishing, ‘Platform’ Is Being Weighed and Found Wanting
Favoring big-name authors and “influencers” might be good for the bottom line, but not always for the books—and readers—themselves.
Editor's Pick
Come Ye Pastors, Heavy Laden
Come Ye Pastors, Heavy Laden
Learning to walk under the weight of ministry's many hats.
close