Leadership is different from governance because it doesn’t establish the lowest and least that is acceptable, but it inspires people to their highest and best. …The outcome of leadership is people operating at their highest and best.
--John Ashcroft, quoted in George Barna’s “Master Leaders”, p. 12-13.
When I lived in the
Jacksonville, FL area, and also while I was still involved in institutional churches, I attended Celebration Church in . The pastor there, Stovall Weems, had in the past become friends with the leadership and Christian writer John C. Maxwell, and through that influence read many of Maxwell’s works and others on that subject. While Maxwell on the surface concentrates on the business community, due to his background as a pastor, he is popular in Christian, specifically institutional church leadership circles. I found his work interesting, and the subject interesting, although it never did me any good (at least so far) occupationally. Maxwell is notable by his absence in the Barna book quoted above. I have had the opportunity to hear Maxwell speak once, and I found it a skill he has mastered, but not exceptional. It is Maxwell’s writing that is particularly notable. Jacksonville
That background has guided me to reading the above book. My thoughts running on this subject run two routes. The first is, as a follower of Jesus, Jesus is my top leader, but, as He is perfect, and I am not, and that He knows men’s hearts, I can only follow Him to a degree. I once knew a man who was a Catholic priest, and ran a school in
. He told me and others that at the time, he somehow ran into conflict with the mayor, who was Communist, was arrested for something, and sentenced to death. He said that one of his thoughts while in jail waiting to be taken to his death (instead, after a time, he was taken to the airport and deported), was that he wasn’t thinking about following Jesus in this aspect. Most of us believers probably haven’t considered it also. Dying for one’s following Jesus could be accepted. The trivial point of geography (dying in Jerusalem ) is unlikely, particularly if one is no where near that city or country. Jerusalem
From that, I approach Ashcroft’s idea, above. Governance, and Barna points out near this quote that he believes he is using the word in a way similar to the way the word “management” is used in business, is a minimum, and leadership is directed to the maximum. How does this fit simple churches? Above, I mentioned being, to a slight degree, around Stovall Weems when I lived in northeast
. I know him as a person who has that “it” factor of significant leadership ability. From what I read from person’s who know many megachurches and their leaders (I am thinking particularly of Leonard Sweet’s book, Aquachurch), and common sense, an exceptional amount of natural leadership ability is a necessity for the head of such an organization. How does that fit groups that are intentionally small and not, by a government’s standards, organized? How do I work at my highest and best, to use Ashcroft’s phrase, when I am not in an organization in which there is a person to motivate me and many others to concentrate on certain programmic goals (and it is irrelevant what that goal is)? We will not be able to have an exceptional leadership figure among every couple of dozen persons. Florida
I believe the point is that what I do to honor God is not motivated by a person nearby me. Someone can, and has, gotten me to do neighborhood evangelism by a certain plan in times past. The point is how I live and speak to a watching world when only motivated by the Holy Spirit as opposed to being in a program. Much of the weakness in what the world would call the church comes from persons who may truly want the Savior aspect of Jesus, that one someday goes to heaven and not hell, but only accepts the Lord aspect of Jesus according to the social pressures around them.
I am old enough to have seen great changes in American society. Being from a small town in the
Midwest, I cannot consciously remember knowing of where an unmarried man and woman living together lived until I went to college. Over the last 40 years, the percentage of persons married has dropped and the above situation is more commonplace. That doesn’t mean the amount of Christians is less; it is just that people feel, to a lesser degree, to fake this custom as 100 years ago here, or for that matter, an Islamic society today.
a) Working off the top of my head, I believe that was recorded in a song titled “Sweet, Sweet Song of Salvation” (to the National Youth Workers Convention).