What’s Your Church’s Biggest Strength:  Management or Leadership?

Orginally published on Monday, March 10, 2008 at 7:02 AM
by Todd Rhoades

Leadership and management guru Peter Drucker once said, “Management is doing things right; Leadership is doing the right things.” When I read that recently, I thought that this statement could be very true in today’s American church. Here’s my theory: Could it be that while most churches are ‘doing things righ’t, a smaller group of churches are ‘doing the right things’?

The percentage of churches in decline is America is substantial.  (I’ve heard as high as 90%!) It’s my hypothesis that each of these churches (and if you take the conservative church count in the country of 200,000 churches, 90% would be a whopping 180,000 American churches!) have to be ‘doing things right’ to some degree.  Doing things right means things like conducting weekend services, maintaining property and facilities, making payroll, and caring for their attenders.  In essence, as long as there are still people attending most churches, the churches, by and large, are ‘doing things right’, at least from a management standpoint.

But what about the other 10% of churches in America that are growing and vibrant?  Could it be that they have moved beyond ‘doing things right’ to ‘doing the right things’?  Every single one of the growing churches I’ve seen are very outwardly focused.  They reach out and specifically target reaching their communities.  They move beyond ‘management’ to dare to try new things; new programs; and new approaches.  They are not afraid of change.  They are not afraid to confront the culture.  The are leaders.  And the result is a growing and community-changing church.

What’s your church’s strength?  Management or Leadership?

This post has been viewed 2435 times so far.

  There are 33 Comments:

  • Posted by Peter Hamm


    1. Why can’t we have visionary leadership AND good sound biblical teaching. I’ve seen plenty of good biblical preacher/teachers who were poor leaders. I want to serve in a church under a Senior Pastor who is both. (Fortunately, I do.)

    2. Sorry, but I find no incompatibility between Maxwell and Boice.

    3. Being hyper-critical of Todd is probably not the best strategy here, being that this is his blog. Perhaps there is another forum somewhere…

  • Posted by Tye Male

    Will - you sure have a lot of audacity. That’s for sure!

  • Posted by

    Intentionally or unintentionally you seem to be eliminating the power of the Holy Spirit.  Without the Holy Spirit, the response to the Gospel, to the word, the gifting to preach it, to understand it all comes from the Holy Spirit. 

    To say the scripture must be taught only in an expositional way is extra biblical thinking and makes you as guilty as Oprah.  To assume the church should be a holy huddle is not really all that Biblical either.  Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the world should be fixed upon our hearts and mind… My communities, counties, country and world should be continually on my mind.  Why?  Because they are on God’s mind.

    Is God not glorified when people come to him in faith, finding forgiveness and freedom from sin?  You post if filled with assumptions about Todd, Maxwell and others.  Be careful about that.

  • Posted by Peter Hamm


    I’m so glad that Jesus gave us the example of sound preaching by only preaching expositional sermons.

    Oh wait… never mind…

  • Posted by Eric Joppa

    I would like to respond to 2 commenters

    The first is Jeremy.

    My friend, You and I are birds of a feather. I, too, am a youth Pastor who is very vision oriented, and am under the leadership of a manager. While I love him, and know the goodness of his heart, he lacks the ability to achieve the vision he has. As you said, it is frustrating. If you are truly committed to the church, that means you must be committed to your Pastor. If you focus on your ministry, your students, and the vision God gave you, then you will find satisfying fruit. However, if you are having a hard time following his leadership, you may need to move on to another place.


    I appreciate that you have an opinion about Todd, and John Maxwell, but I have a question regarding your thoughts on leadership…

    What exactly do you do for a living? What is your expertise on leadership in the church?

  • Posted by

    Well, let me first say that I feel that God led me to the John Maxwell book or this article, not to critique my senior pastor, but to improve my own leadership skills.  I forgot about the book, until God prompted me to read it (as He did this article).  Now I agree that I can’t treat these books and articles as I do the Bible, but they offer excellent ways to improve my own leadership skills.

    We, as pastors, are called to equip the saints for the work of the gospel, not merely to preach.  The results of this would be a church that adheres and acts out the Great Commission.  I don’t think we can simplify the work of a pastor to just preach salvation and/or grace (although completely necessary), it is much more involved than that, and therefore takes more than mere managing what exists.  It takes the implementation of new ideas, building excitement, meeting the needs of the community, etc., in order to preach that message in a relevant way.

    I believe that my church in particular has a lot of people in the seats just being fed, and doing nothing with what they receive.  I believe if there was a vision, or something exciting for them to be a part of, then they would get out of their seats and reach people for Christ.  But, I believe that this has vision has to be cast from the leader, and it simply isn’t being done.  So if that isn’t being done, the message of salvation will be taught to the people who have been filling the pews, and not to the people who really need to hear it.

    I don’t think we can just expect people to show up because we are a church. Jesus did His miracles outside the church, and we are called to GO, not to church, but into the world and proclaim the Good News.

  • Posted by

    It is nice to know I am not alone.  I have searched out some Godly counsel on this matter, and I believe what you are saying 100%.  I am TOTALLY committed and submitted to my Senior Pastor.  I respect his position, and him as a head of the church that I believe God has entrusted him to.  I will be committed and submitted as long as I need to, and fulfill my vision as best as I can, and I will NEVER speak poorly about him.  I haven’t found a way to mesh my vision to his lack of vision.  Any suggestions???  You can email me if you want: .
    Thanks for the input!!

  • Posted by liliputian

    this post has been plagiarized at the following blog URL.

    hooked on grace

  • Page 2 of 2 pages

     <  1 2
Post Your Comments:





Live Comment Preview:

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below: