Nevertheless, you need to let your church’s “lead” pastor lead the church that you have poured so much love and labor into for so long. Here’s why:
- Groups don’t lead, groups are led
This is just a fact of life, like gravity. “The people” wanted false gods, but Aaron decided on the idea of a golden calf. If we think that a group is leading a church or other organization we’re probably mistaken. The group is being led by an individual who may not even know that he/she is leading.
Please don’t take this personally. There are simply things that groups do well, like volleyball or reviewing the writing of an individual and there are things that groups don’t do well, like writing things “from scratch” and leadership.
I’m not saying that the pastor can’t lead the church through the board, but somebody has to lead the board. The pastor has gone to school for this. He thinks about it day and night. He reads about it constantly. The idea of looking to the board chairman for leadership of the church doesn’t make any sense.
- God usually downloads His visions through individuals
Noah, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Nehemiah, David, Jesus and Paul were given directions by God for what groups of people needed to do. Why does God work this way? Probably because of #1 above, “groups don’t lead, groups are led.”
Steve Musser and Eric Orke, in their great little book, Seeking the Pillar of Fire: Uncovering God’s Direction for a Local Church, acknowledge the pressure this puts upon pastors who don’t see themselves as visionaries, but they insist that a church’s vision must come from God through the pastor. They emphasize the need for pastors to listen carefully to many individuals before heading for a “mountain top” to hear from God. They maintain that the humble, sensitive, prayerful pastor, surrounded by the prayers of the church, will hear from God and come down the mountain with God’s plan for His church.
- Only an individual can give a church a cohesive, systematic strategy for making disciples
Most boards in smaller churches are made up of folks who are deeply involved in serving, not just as board members, but also as leaders of ministries. These ministries mean a lot to them. This is just the way we are. If you’ve worked for 15 years in AWANA, eliminating that ministry is not an option for you. Having six board members means there are at least six sacred cows blocking the road, making it almost impossible to come up with a cohesive ministry plan, a strategy for making disciples, that is not a hodge-podge of favored ministries.
I’ve often envied youth pastors because of the freedom that they are given to develop strategic plans for disciple-making. I’ve scratched my head wondering, “Why do we let 25 year old youth guys come up with strategic plans for ministry, but not 55 year old senior pastors?” The answer is that youth pastors are usually accountable to individual senior pastors, not to boards.
The bottom line
I know it’s hard to trust pastors, but the brutal fact is that if want our churches to have systematic, intentional, effective, disciple-making ministries, we must trust our pastors to hear from God and lead his people.