4 Leadership Myths Hurting the Church Today

Step into my office for a moment.

I’m going to peel back the curtain, and bring you behind the scenes into the church world.

If you are a pastor, none of this is new, but if you are a church attender you might not realize any of this.

Pastors want to reach people for Jesus (to which you roll your eyes and say, “Duh! Isn’t that obvious?).

Most are willing to do anything short of sinning to reach the lost. Praise the Lord they carry this burden and passion.

In this never ending quest to do more, reach more, and get better pastors read leadership books, go to leadership conferences, and hire leadership coaches.  Hear me very clearly.  None of this is wrong.

Leadership is a wonderful tool given by God to make everyone better.

Yet despite all of its benefits there are leadership myths that periodically resurface. These are the unspoken, not mentioned myths that rattle around in a pastor’s brain, and they need to be corrected.

  1. Myth 1: Leadership will fix my church.

    Pastors preach about depending upon the Holy Spirit on Sunday. Then rely upon the well of leadership on Monday.

    While that is an oversimplification, the truth still stands.  Churches are fueled more by the latest TED talks, leadership books, or podcasts than by prayer, fasting, and studying.

    I do not say this from a place of judgement, because I too am guilty of the very same negligence.

    If I could remind all pastors (and myself), leadership won’t fix your church. The Holy Spirit will. Lean more on Him than anything else.

  2. Myth 2: Better leadership makes a better me.

    Leadership changes the way you interact with people externally.  It does not and cannot change what’s happening internally.

    This is why pastors fail so often.

    They fixed their outward leadership, grew their church, and developed people.  While the entire time their mental and emotional health was deteriorating.

    Every ounce of success felt less like achievement and more life suffocation until the cracks started to show. Eventually leading to their own demise.

    Leadership won’t fix you, your pastor, or your friend.

    Jesus, counseling, and true Biblical community do that.

    Pastors need to start focusing on emotional and mental health not just leadership skills.

  3. Myth 3: Talent equals leadership

    This myth ensnares everyone in positions of authority.

    So-and-so is talented at x,y, or z.  They must be a good leader

    As a church attender you occasionally see this reality. Your pastor might preach as good as Billy Graham, but his leadership skills are atrocious.

    Talent occasionally equals great leadership, but often it simply means they are good at a specific skill.

    The best guitarist don’t always make the best worship leaders;
    the finest speakers don’t always make the greatest staff leader;
    and the most organized doesn’t always mean the best manager.

    Leadership is a skill developed over time that even naturally talented people have to work on.

  4. Myth 4: Leadership isn’t important.

    By this point you are wondering, “Does Chris hate leadership?”

    No! Absolutely not!

    I am eternally grateful for people like Andy Stanley, Kara Powell, Jon Acuff, Cheryl Bachelder, and Carey Nieuwhof. These men and women are regularly investing in businesses and churches across the world.  Their leadership wisdom creates regular kingdom impact.

    Poor leadership quickly erodes the health of a church.

    Anyone who doesn’t value leadership is missing a key component to make the church better.

    Despite its value, we must never worship at the altar of leadership as the solution for all our problems.

Can you think of anymore leadership myths you have seen?
Comment Below.

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5 thoughts on “4 Leadership Myths Hurting the Church Today

  1. Myth; The position you lead from is permanent. Truth: There are many ways to lead and you may be led into another type of position.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know I agree with that 10000%.


  2. great post – Godly leadership is often hard to find because we make worldly talents more important than God’s calling and empowerment

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. Appreciate the thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Some mistakes are made because those in leadership pick worship leaders, Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, etc. by their outward appearance and expression of talents rather than by discerning spiritual gifts they have that motivate them. This is especially true for those who minister to youth. Sometimes leaders will try to plug a teen into leadership, especially in music, without paying much attention to his or her spiritual maturity. They believe this will keep the teen connected and involved with the church, but they don’t foresee the harm this can do. First, that teen may start getting his significance from his new position of leadership rather than from being a child of the Lord. Second, that teen may not be spiritually wise or mature enough to handle relationships with the opposite sex in a godly way.

    I speak from experience here. Our beautiful, but troubled and emotionally immature 15-year-old adopted daughter met someone involved in the music ministry of his church at a high school conference at Forest Home Christian Conference Grounds. We met him when we came to pick her up at the end of the week. She must have told him to impress us with his faith, since she knew that was important to us, but he was the first young man we’d ever met who practically recited a resume of his qualifications to date our daughter as soon as we knew each other’s names. There was a lot he told us, but what he later showed us was much different.

    He knew we did not yet allow our daughter to date, She had been sexually abused by her birth father and her Christian therapist had confirmed she was not yet emotionally mature enough to date. This particular therapist was also the head of special services for our public school district and well qualified to make this evaluation. We told the young man he could visit our home to visit occasionally, but not date our daughter. He seemed to agree. When my husband had to take a temporary job across the country, he told me one night he was worried. He was seeing visions of our daughter in the dark away from home on a corner, alone. After he returned home, we found evidence that this minister of music had been coming after we were asleep and whisking our daughter away after she sneaked out. She would wait for him on the corner. He would keep her out for hours — even on school nights.

    This is not the place to tell a long and complex tale. This young man lived about two hours from our home. I’m sure our daughter had convinced him we were horrible parents and she needed to be rescued. To make a long story short, my husband called his pastor and asked to meet with him, the young man, and the young man’s father, who was divorced from his mother. During the session even the young man’s father, not yet a Christian, warned him not to make the same mistakes he’d made. The young man appeared to repent. I think he was also taken out of his leadership position. Then my daughter lost interest in him because he was cooperating with us. He later blamed us when our daughter ran away with someone else she’d been sneaking out to see. If only we had let him date her he thought it would not have happened.

    When someone, especially a young person who is a new Christian, is considered for leadership, careful discipleship training should precede taking that leadership position and be ongoing. The pastoral staff should get to know that person well to see what kinds of temptations he or she may be most susceptible to and safeguards put into place.

    Leadership positions in a church must not just be slots to be filled with willing bodies, but instead filled after prayerful consideration of the spiritual qualifications with continuing discipling as long as that person remains in leadership representing your church as one of its public faces. Someone must always be ministering to the ministers, even the music ministers and youth leaders. Maybe especially to them.

    I have rarely seen volunteers trained in the smaller churches where I’ve served. No one looked into my qualifications to teach Sunday school or lead a youth choir. I was an active member. I had professed faith. I’d been a Christian for a long time. Beyond that the pastors hardly knew me when I first took the positions. They just had slots to fill and I volunteered. One church knew I was a teacher recruited me to teach VBS after I’d been at the church for two weeks. Within a month my husband and I were recruited to lead the college group because of our experience with IVCF as students. It was a small church and we were happy to help. We had gotten to know a few people those first two weeks, including the elders, so they did not blindly accept us as volunteers. It worked out for the benefit of all in this case, and it often does.

    But another church I was in had recruited a man as youth leader who was later discovered to be molesting his own daughters. We heard the story from one of the daughters after they recruited us to lead the high school group. Longtime members of the church confirmed this, so she wasn’t making it up. She was an outcast in the group. The secret came out when her older sister had run away when she knew their youngest sister would be next. This is the sort of thing that can happen when we judge potential leadership by their willingness to fill a slot rather than by getting to know them and their families well enough to evaluate their qualifications, especially their spiritual lives. Man looks at the outward appearance. God looks as the heart. David, most unqualified for leadership in the eyes of his father and in the eyes of man, was the one God chose to be his leader, not his brothers whom their contemporaries would have picked.

    Liked by 1 person

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