Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Doing things right OR doing the RIGHT things?

Leadership and management guru Peter Drucker once said, “Management is doing things right; Leadership is doing the right things.” When I read that statement several years ago, I wondered about its validity. However, in observing churches all around me and spending time in churches as a preacher, conference leader, or consultant, I have come to the conclusion that Drucker is right. In fact I am convinced that more and more churches are only concerning themselves with "doing things right" while fewer and fewer churches are concerned with "doing the right things."
The percentage of churches in decline is America is ridiculously high. Estimates state that 80% of all churches in America are either plateaued or declining. I know this is at least the case in the Southern Baptist Convention. If it is true for all churches in our country then this represents some 160,000 + churches. The largest majority of these churches have to be ‘doing things right’ to some degree as their central focus. "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’, by managing the status quo.

But is maintaining the status quo Jesus' goal for our churches? Certainly not. Nature teaches us that anything that is alive will grow. The same is true for people, as well was churches. I am convinced that the growing, vibrant churches in America and in my community are the ones who are concerned with "doing the right things." For example, every single one of the growing churches I’ve seen are very outwardly focused. They reach out and specifically target reaching their communities. They dare to try new things, start new programs and employ new strategies and approaches without compromising the gospel. These churches are not afraid of change. They are not afraid to confront the culture with the truth of God's Word. They are led by leaders and not managers. The result is a growing, life-changing community of faith that impacts its surroundings for the glory of God.