Archives For Church leadership

If the church spent 10% as much time focused on true Jesus-style discipleship as it does on “leadership”, we wouldn’t be having the church leadership issues we are experiencing today. Badly discipled “leaders” don’t just badly disciple their followers, they leave a trail of broken people in the wake of their “ministry”.

Jesus-style discipleship does not take place from platforms or within classrooms.ⁱ It happens in lives lived together with laughter, love and, oddly enough, mutual submission. Demanded authority or domination are not remotely connected to true discipleship — they, like power & control, are simply symptoms of the fall. True disciplers are people who have laid down their need to be seen as leaders, to be the servants Jesus describes in Matthew 20:25. People who need or demand leadership titles rarely are able to be disciplers. Instead they cultivate the warped human desire for control over others.

In fact, we have warped Jesus teaching in the above mentioned passage by creating the oxymoronic “servant leadership” — with the focus on “leadership”. Servant becomes too easily a throwaway adjective, (much like we have down with the word “missional” which has been applied to so many different “programs” that it effectively has no meaning). Jesus uses “servant” as a noun in that passage. As we should. Or rather, as we must.

ⁱUPDATE: My friend and SPU Prof, Jeff Keuss says this via Twitter, “be careful with “always” “does” “does not” when it comes to how God works esp. w/ discipleship. God shows up in my classroom BTW


Other thoughts on discipleship:

Discipleship is Conspiracy

Church Discipline does NOT Equal Discipleship

Diss-Missional Discipline or Missional Discipleship

Sermons Don’t Make Disciples – Missional Discipleship Part 2

Zero-Sum Games & the Church

Releasing the UnLeader!

Undiscipled – It isn’t Change You can Believe In

Moving from Undiscipled to Transformed — Imbi Medri-Kinnon

The UK Real Interview – Was it of the Undisciplined or the Undiscipled?

Follow this link for more discipleship posts, please.





I’m thinking of asking my Missional ’Gator friends (they know who they are) to join me in a Missional Avengers team. Our mission will be to seek out and destroy the Loci of church leadership ideas like this one from that great church ecclesiologist, Teddy Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

I’ve seen this pointed to by a number of people as relevant to church leadership. The last straw was when a good friend — a person I love dearly — who is planting a church in Toronto, ReTweeted a link to it.

Marlboro man as Pastor 2

I deal with this ridiculous and, in fact, dangerous belief in the mythic super hero as church leader/planter at length in my post, Jesus and the Marlboro Man.

This is the myth of the rugged individual and it is one, I’d suggest, that has done more damage to the church in the west than we care to realize.

And that damage includes both those who have attempted to “build” a church this way, as well as those who have attempted to work with said solo builder.

In light of my response here, please read this post from Lance Ford, based on his upcoming book, UnLeader: Rethinking Leadership… and Why We Must —  a book you just might want to pre-order. (Part One of his “Refutable Laws” posts is here.)

And if or as you disagree with me, help me understand how Teddy’s thoughts line up with Luke 10 or Matthew 20:25. I’m just saying.