Changing Strategies and Methods without Losing the Mission

The Challenge of Every Leader

In the world of organizational performance, the church stands apart in a significant way from all other organizations. At the same time, the church continues to incorporate organizational skills used by secular organizations, many of which have assisted the church in doing great things to spread the Gospel.

Many larger churches have taken on the management structure of corporations with the lead pastor and numerous supporting staff mirroring corporate CEOs and managers or vice presidents. Organizational structures which help churches operate effectively reflect good stewardship of resources.

The church has tapped into the culture of emotional intelligence, cultural intelligence, the healthy organization, Gallup Strengths, crucial conversations, coaching, the use of technology, social media, and more. Again, where these tools are applied with sound biblical and theological reflection and used effectively, the church has made and continues to make a powerful impact for the Kingdom of God.

If the church is able to use the methods of the secular organizations to achieve its goal, does that mean the church is a secular organization? If so, the purpose of the church must be re-examined. If not, how is the church different from secular organizations?

While the church has been able to adopt some “how to” methods of secular organizations, the source and focus of the Church’s mandate are radically different. And it will serve all church leaders well to never forget this distinction.

The Church received its mandate from Jesus, and Jesus calls His leaders to lead the church in making disciples (Matt. 28:19-20). It is not about numbers or money. Neither of these were included in the mandate given to the church, although both numbers and money may increase when the important thing – making disciples – remains most important. Unfortunately, the church on a whole has become driven by numbers and money. A church is successful only if it can show growth in membership and increase in finances. Sometimes discipleship making is a very slow process over a long period of time with little or no financial income or increase in numbers. The mission of the church is to make disciples, not show increase in numbers and money. Many churches today are growing exponentially numerically and financially, but they are failing at disciple-making, which is the mandate of the church.

Since the mandate is from Christ, as a leader you must constantly seek Christ’s direction for how best to do the ministry of making disciples in whatever context He has called you to lead.

Avoid the mistake many leaders make when they take the next new and exciting idea they read or hear about from someone else’s success in ministry and try to apply in their context. It’s certainly acceptable to examine the idea; but before you decide to apply it to your context, be sure you and your leadership team, along with trusted others who are not on the leadership team, have sought the Lord’s guidance to know if this is where He is directing you.

You could spend a lot time training your team and figuring out how to implement new ideas and very little time knowing if this is God’s leading or just some new and exciting idea you want your followers to help you implement.

As the leader you must lead the way in seeking God and also teach your followers the importance of seeking God.

The church is not a secular organization and it should not and cannot not be run like one. The church must always be led by the power and presence of God. And for that to happen, you as the leader must lead your followers in seeking God’s direction for making disciples in your given context.

In the current COVID-19 world and all the changes it has brought, the mandate of the church has not changed, it is still about disciple-making. Many leaders have found themselves leading outside their comfort zone because these times haves called for a fresh way of looking at how the church continues to fulfill its mandate.

  • How have you been leading in these vastly different times?
  • Have you been seeking innovation and technology more than God?
  • Have you forgotten the church is led by Christ, and that you should seek Him first before trying new ideas or innovations?

Learn everything you can about leadership from the world, do not be afraid to use some of the methods to help the church be effective during this time. In the midst of it all, seek God with all you heart, and lead your followers to do the same. And God will give you all that you need for making it through these challenging times while remaining true to the mandate of making disciples.

If you would like help in achieving your goals as a leader or in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.