September 6, 2016 Tony Morgan

A Rant About Leadership and Planning

When someone uses their gifts of wisdom and teaching, we’re bound to hear an “Amen.” People will line up to express gratitude for their having brought biblical truth and life application.

When someone uses their gift of prayer, we wait expectantly on God to respond.

When someone uses their gifts of mercy and serving, we’re quick to recognize the selfless act of compassion for others.

When someone uses their gift of evangelism, we celebrate with them when someone hears the Gospel message and accepts Christ.

But when someone uses their gifts of leadership and administration, some people are bound to oppose it.

When someone uses their gifts of wisdom and teaching, we’re bound to hear an “Amen.” People will line up to express gratitude for their having brought biblical truth and life application.

When someone uses their gift of prayer, we wait expectantly on God to respond.

When someone uses their gifts of mercy and serving, we’re quick to recognize the selfless act of compassion for others.

When someone uses their gift of evangelism, we celebrate with them when someone hears the Gospel message and accepts Christ.

But when someone uses their gifts of leadership and administration, some people are bound to oppose it.

They state the case that to use business principles and practices in the church is not spiritual and, ultimately, lacks faith.

I know I’m going to sound a bit like a whiny victim here, but I’m willing to take that risk. My hope is that you’ll consider the value of people like me in your ministry.

I really do love Jesus. He’s transformed my life. He’s forgiven me. He’s given me hope and purpose. And, like every Christ-follower, he’s given me spiritual gifts. Mine happen to include leadership and administration. If I’m being obedient to God, then I’m supposed to use the gifts he’s given me to further the mission of the local church. I too am part of the body of Christ.

Unfortunately, my gifts are not welcomed in many churches. For some reason, my gifts are not viewed as spiritual. My gifts are, according to some, the antithesis of faith. If I use my gifts to plan for the future and design a strategy to put that plan into action, then somehow that leaves God out of the equation. I don’t agree with that assertion, but it’s a perception I encounter on a regular basis.

Jesus once said this related to my spiritual gifts:

“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’” (Luke 14:28-30)

Planning before you build is actually quite biblical.

Jesus was a fan of it. That may be why he decided to give some of his followers the gifts of leadership and administration. He knew he would need some people to lead and to guide others toward a new destination. He knew someone would have to map out a plan, assign responsibilities, set target dates and manage the budget. For some, these may be viewed as business practices, but for me it’s stewardship of God’s mission for the church.

By the way, planning is not the opposite of faith.

In fact, planning shines the spotlight on faith. It more clearly establishes our dependency on God. We don’t build the church. The Lord builds the church. We don’t provide the financial resources. God provides the resources. We don’t bring the people and the spiritual gifts to carry out the mission. God provides the people and the gifts he needs. When I plan, I’m more aware of the need for God to move; otherwise, my efforts are in vain.

When you insinuate that I’m using business practices in the church, I know you don’t mean to hurt me. I know it’s your pride talking. I just want you to know that this is the way God created me, and I’d much rather use the gifts he gave me to further the cause of Christ than to use my gifts outside the church.

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Tony Morgan

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.
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