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Christian Leadership: Awakening the Sleeping Giant
– You ran well: who prevented you from obeying the truth?
Why are so many religious institutions ignorant of their biblical mission? I guess this is a question that most politically correct people will avoid. We will not be politically correct in this column. George Barna, a leading expert in Christian trend analysis, argues that churches are giving billions to religious outreach programs without much success, and admits that this church mindset needs to change. In analyzing the state of most churches in general, several questions must be asked. Let’s start at the top of the organizational pyramid. Are leaders leading their congregations right? I have sat in my share of church meetings and seen heated discussions. All families have some disagreements, but fighting takes the focus off the Christian mission. Some church members will claim that their church is loving and has no disagreements at all. You know your church; however, you may have been left out of your church “battle” meeting. Many leaders do not want the input of followers because their followers are not as important as they are. (Of course, no leader will admit this.)
Let’s explain. Leaders cannot ignore cultural influences. Although some polls portray a holy America (95% believe in God), these are hostile times for Christian values. Yes, there is growing religiosity; yet people seek God on their own terms. Barna again argues that a new spiritual revolution is gaining momentum. Local churches are on the way. By 2025, only 1/3 of the current population will be members of a local church. Likewise, in black churches, there is a steady decline (5.6%) in church attendance for 18- to 35-year-olds, from 1995 to 2000. Despite this situation, most people support some spirituality in their lives. Oddly enough, Pascarella, author of Christ Centered Leadership, explains that the moral decline also encouraged people to look to religion as the only way out. Some leaders advocate combining the best of secular culture with religious traditions. However, religion is not like mixing ice cream. Does it make sense to do this?
Leaders should not hide from the shortcomings of their churches. Some people suggest that churches need to update their thinking. However, Richards & Hoeldtke, authors of Church Leadership, argue that you simply cannot apply institutional leadership to the Christian body. The church is a living organism. Here are Barna’s suggestions for church improvements:
(a) teach uncompromising truth (1 Tim. 4:1, 5)
(b) continue intercessory prayers for leaders (1 Tim 2:1-2)
(c) be faithful (1 Tim. 1:19)
(d) prepare for warfare (1 Tim. 1:18)
Therefore, leaders must carefully review their purpose against their proven results. Are your programs working to reach others? If not, organizations need to rethink their strategy. Churches can use a simple glass approach such as the Fruit of the Spirit to reach this lost culture (offered in Galatians 5:22-23). Churches should focus on their first Love and make a difference in every community. Get started today!
Barna, G. (2000). Growing True Discipleship. Ventura, CA: Issachar Resources.
Cell Church Solution (2005). Revolution book review. Received from
New King James Bible
Pascarella, P. (1999). Christ Centered Leadership. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing.
Richards, L. & Hoeldtke, C. (1980). Church Leadership: Following the Example of Jesus Christ. Grand Rapids, MI: Ministry Resources Library.
Morris, C. (1983). The Christian Leader. Printed in USA: PhilBEST
Sanders, J. (2005). Spiritual Guidance. Chicago, IL: Moody Press
© 2006 by Daryl D. Green
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