Posted by: watchman | February 10, 2009

Great Lesson: Relationships First

The second applicable thing I learned in Good to Great is that successful leaders put relationships first.

In author Jim Collins’ examination of successful corporate leaders, he noted that leaders who established a team of dedicated people around them before they focused on strategic planning and vision casting had more long term success. In other words, people come before plans. How many pastor search committees do you know looking for a highly relational pastor willing to build up a small group of people dedicated to eachother more than a plan for success?

I have seen the exact opposite. Most churches are looking for a charismatic , visionary leader. They are looking for a person obsessed with a goal. While this kind of leader can sometimes bring success, it usually never lasts beyond their time. It is short lived, becasue it is based on their presence.

A truly successful leader is one who knows how to make a community, a team, a group of people dedicated to eachother. The community can integrate new members and it can survive losing a leader. The hard part is that the team needs dedication, honesty, and the ability to take some hard hits and still stay together.

Does that sound like church to you?

In a day and age where churches split over the color of carpet, it seems that dedication to one another is lacking. Instead, we want a messianic outsider to ride into town and make everything right, give us success.

The Jesus style of leadership was far from short term. In fact, he was kind of a failure short term. Instead, he invested himself in a small group of people and made sure that they carried on even better after he was gone.

How many churches are looking for a pastor like that?



  1. It’s a sad commentary when the colored carpet illustration is still used today and it’s still relevant.

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