I spent most of Monday at a seminar with other pastors from the Charlotte District of the United Methodist Church. Gil Rendle, a consultant with The Alban Institute, led our time together, and issued a number of provocative observations about leadership in the local church. Here are some of his greatest hits:
- Leaders get in trouble when they start giving answers to questions the congregation is not asking.
- Much of our problem solving merely takes our congregation back to the place of comfort it had before the problem arose . . . problem solving rarely takes us forward.
- People don’t fear change. They fear what they’ll lose in change.
- Management asks, “are we doing things right?” Leadership asks, “are we doing right things?” (nothing groundbreaking there, but it leads to his next observation . . . )
- Congregations and denominations want pastors to do leadership. But they will reward only management.
- At the moment a congregation says it will move into the future without losing any members, it has already decided not to move into the future.
Those one-liners alone were worth the time I spent learning and listening. Some of them might even find their way into Sunday morning; I hope all of them will find their way into my leadership Monday through Saturday.