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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor
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CEO-cracy* Or Theocracy
Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div, M.S.A.
Whether one likes it or not, churches tend to follow (or react to) the polity of the culture in which they minister. In countries familiar with a democratic form of government the congregations may tend to be democratic. In areas familiar with a more centralized form of government, a centralized form of government may also be found in the churches in that context. Age, education, economic status and other cultural factors may also play a significant role.
Necessity is the mother of invention. When necessity is in charge all kinds of things can happen. Some of these inventions are helpful while others may not be helpful at all. Some inventions may be temporary while others may become permanent.
When the pressure is on, there is a strong temptation to let the urgent and the immediate overtake congregational operation. When this occurs one of the first things to result is a change in the ministerial office. The greater the pressures for growth or the avoidance of decline, the greater the tendency to place it all on the pastor.
Congregations are time-sensitive. They live in a real world of the unexpected. Their response to the real world shapes the ministry.
"If Jesus had your ministry, what things would He be doing?
What things would He not be doing?
|Item or Task||Yes||No||Would Jesus Do It? (Y/N)|
|1. Fix the furnace and/or plumbing?|
|2. Type the bulletin?|
|3. Raise the money?|
|4. Mow the grass?|
|5. Fix the computer?|
|6. Do the supply shopping?|
|7. Do you talk with phone solicitors?|
|8. Do you regularly perform other non-ministry related tasks?|
Was Jesus a CEO?
Theocracy vs. CEO-cracy
|Housing||No place to lay His head||Many large, luxurious homes|
|Transportation||By foot (Scripture records He only rode a donkey once!)||Stretch limos, private jets, et al.|
|Financial Support||No wages||Large salaries, bonuses, stock options|
|Job Description||Proclaim the Kingdom of God||Total organizational development|
|Accountability||To God for outputs||To men for outcomes|
|Power Base||God's Word||Vote of share-holders|
|Origin Of Calling||Of God||Of the world|
|Executive Staff||Unknown, untrained||Experienced, well-educated executives purchased from other companies|
|Inner Motivation||Thanksgiving for God's grace||Legalism and performance|
|Personnel||Whoever will follow||Whomever I pay|
|Valued Behaviors||Prayer, mediation, Scripture study, discipleship, outreach||Profitability|
|Most Effective||In weakness||When dominating|
|Attraction to the world||Self-renunciation, painful spiritual transformation||Fill their needs, "Happiness"|
|Corporate Events||Eat with society's outcasts||Mix with the rich and famous|
|Norm Of Life||God's Word||Company policy, expediency|
|Role of Faith||Absolute trust in God||Absolute trust in self|
|Other Perks||Give up your life to save it||Bonuses, stock options, early retirement, et al|
|Means of Success||Patiently await God's will||Your dynamic personality, charisma, persistence, and dominant leadership|
|Promotions||Stay where you are and experience greater joy in suffering, sacrifice, and grace||Climb the career ladder|
|Pillar of Success||Die on a cross||Public adulation|
1) Re-examine the scriptural basis of the Office of the Ministry. What things were distinctive to it? What things did it do? What things did it not do? Why or why not?
2) Having considered #1 above, re-examine the ministry in your church. What things are you doing that are distinctive to the ministerial office? Which are not? Which demonstrate a tendency toward CEO-cracy? Theocracy?
3) Consider the staff configuration. Are pastor and supportive staff roles mixed? Confused? Is the secretary doing the pastor's job and the pastor doing the janitor's job? Are they diminished in each of their capacities by doing this? Is the office of the ministry enhanced or diminished?
4) What is the central content of your preaching? It is institutional development or personal, spiritual transformation? Is it "doing" the church or is it proclaiming and participating the activity of God's grace among His people?
5) What gives you, pastor, the greatest joy? Numbers or faith? Success or weakness? Happiness or joy? Personal success or the work of Jesus Christ? (Be honest! Really--What is the greater source of joy?)
6) Who or what is most central in your ministry? Goal attainment or the Gospel? Your church or the Kingdom of God?
- 7) Are you so tied to your congregation that there is no time left for visitation, hospital calls, crisis intervention ministry, etc.?
8) Is your ministry really a reflection of the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Men?
9) Is your confidence that you will be at the same church next year rooted in accomplishments or in your submission and recognition of God's divine plan for you to be in that church until further notice?
- No matter how dedicated the pastor, virtually everyone might realize that perhaps their ministry is a closer reflection of a Ceo-cracy than a theocracy.
What To Do
1) Conduct a personal ministry management study. Make a sheet and note all the tasks you do and how much time it has taken for each. Then ask, "Is that ministry-related?" "Is that task driven by my calling in the Kingdom or is it driven by other inappropriate CEO attitudes and behaviors?"
2) Change the staff configuration. Whether using paid or volunteer help, develop a staff support for the ministry which releases the pastor of the CEO tasks when possible.
3) Shift your ministry and leadership style. Make a tilt away from the executive and toward the prophetic.
4) Don't shun the appropriate essentials of the ministry calling. Some pastors use the "CEO" discussion to avoid work. "I just preach and let others do the rest." It sounds so spiritual until one sees they do little ministry of any kind.
An honest, discerning examination of the Scriptural ministerial and prophetic offices reveals that these offices were never bureaucratic. On the other hand, they weren't laissez faire propositions either.
Prophets were extremely disciplined, passionate, spiritual change agents. Their calling was much more pervasive than any CEO's. They balked at nothing unspiritual. They preached regardless of the potential pain. They willingly gave their lives as they preached to influence churches, regions, nations, princes, and kings wherever they were. This boldness is the hallmark of the ministerial office.
5) Prioritize the ministry of the Gospel. When individuals complete time management and delegation seminars they are taught to think about the tasks before they do them. Is it proper for me or not? A similar thing must be done to make a shift from CEO-cracy to theocracy.
For the next week or two, consider what you are doing. Is it essential to the proclamation of the Gospel? Is it central to the Scriptural task of ministry? Will it directly help people realize they are forgiven, redeemed and graciously sealed in God's Word of Grace? Or is it just another thing that you've done to help take up the slack somewhere else?
6) Be Good Stewards of God's Gift of Ministry. Stewardship starts and ends with the pastor. What are you gifts? What is your training? What specialties do you have? Which are you using? Neglecting? Perhaps the most tragic event in God's theocracy is when His chosen people are in the wrong area. If doing other non-ministry orientated tasks--or doing ceo-type tasks gets in the way of your specific ministry training, don't do it.
7) Be a Theocratic Leader. Lead the congregation to the King of Kings. Let His grace and forgiveness enact a total transformation of their hearts, souls, and spirituality to seek the rule of the Theocratic King.
"From that time on Jesus began to preach, 'Repent,
for the kingdom of heaven is near'" Matthew 4:17 (NIV).
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This page was revised on: Tuesday, October 05, 2004 11:03:09 PM