The defining difference – Jesus’ mandate

In the world of organizational performance in which organizations measure themselves by results, the Church stands apart in a significant way from all other groups. At the same time, the Church continues to incorporate organizational skills used by secular organizations, many of which have been helpful in assisting the Church to do great things in spreading the good news of 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, conversational 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 was included in the mandate given to the Church, although both numbers and money may increase when the important thing – making disciples – remains most important.

Since the mandate is from Christ, as a leader you must lead followers to 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 too 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 it to 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 to lead your followers.

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. I am aware of the pressure leaders face to look as successful as the other church down the street. But bear in mind, that you were not called to lead your people to look like the other successful church down the street, but to lead them how and where God wants you to take them.

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 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 led your followers in seeking God’s direction for making disciples in your given context.

Ask yourself this question: Are you intentionally seeking God’s direction for leading your organization, or you leading your church like an organization without any divine direction?

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.