This post is a little bit a reaction. In no way do I think I have it all together and know that I have much to learn and these are purely my personal thoughts. I read an article today titled "Church Members, Here Are 10 Ways to KILL Your Church". Some of which may or may not be true. But it's my experience as a church leader that it is much more likely that "leaders" will cause the greatest damage to a church. So here are 12 ways a leader can harm or kill his church! (or at least encourage people to find another one)
- Don't practice what you preach
Tell your church to do something you aren't prepared to do yourself. Tell them to tithe when a check on your bank account would see you somewhat lacking. Integrity must be found in leadership otherwise people will vote with their feet.
- Don't use the offerings for what you asked it for
If you ask for a "Vision" offering. Make sure that you use the money for the specified actual vision. Every penny! If the price changes. Tell people. If you choose to go a different route. Tell people and offer them their money back. Be transparent!
- Surround yourself with yes men / women
Healthy conflict is good. Leaders need people that make them think. The temptation is to surround yourself with people that thinks the sun shines out of your bum. It may make life easier in the short term but its a sure fire way to help you make bad decisions. Look for people that are Godly, madly in love with the church and big enough to ask a question.
- Have no real local accountability
Local churches should have local leaders. There is a fad which is seeing leaders appoint fellow leaders from other churches in another part of the country or even another country as trustees or directors of the charity. This is not accountability it is trying to avoid accountability. It is also a sign of a weak leader. Rather than having to do some heavy lifting and actually talk, debate and convince people who know and love the church, they get their mate to tick the box.
- Assume that volunteers who don't show up can't be bothered.
Not asking the question to find out what is going on in their life. What difficulties are they facing. Assuming the worst about people is a sure fire way to have them walk down the road to a church that appreciates them.
- Never release others into real leadership
Call people leaders but constantly micro manage them. Criticise rather than coach when they make a mistake. Control them by ensuring they have to come back to you for almost every decision. Not allowing them to experiment and do things their way and insisting its your way or the highway.
- Beat up your congregation instead of building them up
People already feel bad enough about themselves they don't need you to pile the pressure on. Inspire don't injure.
- Not making the local church God has placed you in your focus.
You will always be the hero as a visiting speaker at another church so your ego will be fed. Jump off the band waggon of i will preach and your church and you speak at mine (with reciprocating monetary gifts). God has given you a flock and a city or town that he thinks needs you, give them and him your all.
- Thinking the congregation are there to serve you rather that you serving the congregation.
As shepherds of God's people our example is the good shepherd. We are forever wedded to the bowl and towel of our master. No matter how many leadership books we devour with new techniques we are drawn back and confronted with a serving saviour. If we want people to serve us it maybe time to step out of leadership.
- Never personally tell another person about Jesus.
Even worse shout at your congregation for their lack of evangelistic zeal when you can't actually remember the last person you invited to church, let alone they actually accepted and came and sat along side you.
- Keep hopping on and off the latest trend in church growth ideas.
By enlarge your congregation don't care about, purpose driven, G12, attractonal v missional. (nothing wrong with any of them) They want a place where they are known, accepted as they are and inspired to change don't rob them of that with the latest fad.
- Forcing your vision through efficiently instead of winning people effectively.
Not taking the time to win people is a sure fire way to empty the church. There will always be a few who won't go with you but the vast majority just want a compelling enough reason to change. God may have captured your heart now take the time to help others jump on board. Take time - people matter.
The Holy Spirit has put you in charge of these people—God’s people they are—to guard and protect them. God himself thought they were worth dying for. - Acts 20:28 (Message)