Bigger Isn’t Necessarily Better . . . especially when it comes to churches

Posted: February 23, 2014 in Uncategorized, When Church Hurts
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I recently read a blog post in which the author delineated the difference between an “organizational” leader and a “relational” leader.  The blogger’s premise is that if the pastor is “organizational” he will be able to build a large (mega) church.  But, if your pastor is “relational” your church will forever and always be small.

Ultimately, the reason for this is because a relational pastor can only take care of a finite number of people because he wants to know and interact with them on a personal level, whereas an organizational leader takes care of only 6-12 people – his “inner circle.”  A relational pastor wants to know what’s going on with people – who has a new job, who is expecting, what your kids are up to, who is having medical tests.  They will show up for baby showers and come over for Sunday dinner and, well, they will just love people well.  They care and they care deeply.

An organizational pastor, on the other hand, will only really care for a few people and they are the people who report to him or to whom he reports. Rather than being there for everyone, they are there for only a very few of their “highest capacity leaders.”  So don’t plan on them attending your kid’s graduation party or coming to the hospital when your husband cuts his hand with a table saw and requires an amputation unless you are in that top 5-12 people.

Organizational leaders are all about growing the system – which they commonly tout as “growing leaders.”  They believe that because their church is bigger, it is “reaching more people” and they aren’t really all that concerned that the scope and depth of that care is limited.

An organizational leader, as the one who pastored our previous church told me directly, believes that people are disposable.  If someone has a need that the “developing leaders” are ill-equipped to deal with, the Senior Pastor, often times known as the CEO, is probably also not equipped to meet that need.  Because he is not “relational,” he will avoid stepping in to the arena of relational ministry.  The leader is okay with that person whose need is not being met to exit the church.  Individuals – and entire families – are not as important as the system that the leader is building.

And that system is just that – a system.  It’s not about people.  It’s about numbers.  Numbers of people, numbers at the bottom line, numbers of staff, numbers of new members, numbers of services, etc.

And that “inner circle”?  If they are not “relational” leaders, they will be ill-equipped to develop relational ministries within the system.  They will attempt program after program, class after class, but without that relational component to connect to people, those programs will fizzle and die.  And, instead of realizing that it is a relational problem – because relationships aren’t being developed and maintained, they will try another new program or class.  And they will blame the people for not being spiritual enough; for not desiring more of God; for not having their priorities straight.

And they are probably right.  Because the people who are drawn to those “systems” probably aren’t willing to live vulnerably.  They don’t want to be seen or to be transparent.  They don’t want anyone to know that they struggle or are needy.  So they don’t need the classes and programs or the interactions and relationships that a smaller church expects and thrives on.

So, one must ask themselves, how important is it that you be in a church where you and your family will be known and, when necessary, cared for and that you can care for those who lead?  If your idea of church is that it is a place of community – not just with the few people you might interact with because you sit in the same pew every week, but because you are a “family,” you may be very happy in a small church.

But, if you just want to go for the entertainment – good music, good speaker, maybe even a good skit or worship dance – and if you never have a need for a pastor to know you well enough to speak personally about you at your funeral, and you really have no intention of being involved beyond putting money into the offering plate, chances are, you will be very happy attending that mega church.

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Comments
  1. Reblogged this on Undercover Jesus and commented:
    Systems are not healthy for people, here’s an excellent reason why:

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