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February 17, 2013
When someone speaks of a “CEO Pastor” they are typically referring to a top down, isolated head leader, sole decision maker model of pastoral leadership. It might be structured to look something like the chart below:
a Church leadership model of the past?
By Leighton Flowers
Referring to someone as a “CEO” (Chief Executive Officer) is not necessarily a compliment in today‟s world. People tend to think of these leaders as materialistic, money grubbing, power hungry, arrogant, isolated individuals. That does not stop our culture from encouraging the next generation to aspire to such heights, nor does it discourage our churches from adopting a similar structure of leadership. The term „senior pastor‟ derives its roots from the American corporate business model. You may have heard the vernacular as “senior partner” or “senior executive.” These are the individuals entrusted with all the major decisions and direction of the organization. They become the face of the institution, the king, the decision maker, and the final authority.
Referring to someone as a “CEO” (Chief Executive Officer) is not necessarily a compliment in today‟s world. People tend to think of these leaders as materialistic, money grubbing, power hungry, arrogant, isolated individuals. That does not
stop our culture from encouraging
the next generation to aspire to such heights, nor does it discourage our churches from adopting a similar structure of leadership. The term
This model puts the pastor on a pedestal, of sorts, making him appear aloof, more important, less fallible than those surrounding him. Tragically, it also tends to lift him to such heights that the tumble down is most certainly a fatal one.
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While addressing the “CEO’s” of his day, Jesus does not hold back: Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. "Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them 'Rabbi.' "But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. "Woe to you, blind guides! (Matthew 23:1-16)
Does the CEO model square with the Some may read this passage scripture?
and conclude that Jesus’ rebuke was only necessary because these Pharisees we hypocritical, and as long as pastors practice what they preach they would not be subject to this type of correction. But, Jesus clearly teaches his church not to promote titles of honor or superiority, but to point all authority, all honor and all glory back to Christ. The greatest among believers are those who humble themselves and serve, not those who work their way “up the corporate latter” to a place of higher authority over others. Churches certainly require leadership, that is a given, but what model of leadership has Christ given for us to follow? I believe Jesus was the greatest team-builder to ever walk on the face of the earth. Just look at the impact of the team he built after he left the earth. He nurtured relationships with his team, held them accountable, affirmed their gifts, and empowered them to do great things. He washed their feet, equipped them, loved them deeply, and even went as far as giving up his own life for theirs. Paul reminded the church in Philippi of this truth when he wrote: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being
found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:3-8) God’s kingdom turns the American corporate dream on its ear. The world tells us to play to our strengths, promote ourselves, and rise to the top by aspiring to the highest place of authority in your field. God tells us to humble ourselves, treat others as more important, and lead by serving. Have pastors and the churches they lead adopted the world’s
vision or God’s? Does the CEO model of leadership in the church undermine the doctrine known as “The Priesthood of Every Believer,” where some are called to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers to “equip his people of the works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph. 4:12-13)
Questions to Ponder:
1. Is the Pastor isolated in his leadership? Does he have direct, regular accountability for his decisions and actions? 2. Do those serving on staff feel valued as a part of the leadership team? Do they feel they are with him on this team or do they feel they merely report to him? 3. Do those on staff feel trusted, empowered, equipped and encouraged to fulfill their calling by their pastor? 4. Does the pastor regularly remind the congregation that Christ is the head of the church, not any person? Do his decisions and actions reflect that he really believes this? 5. Does your church put more emphasis on inviting people to events and programs of the church or to Christ? 6. Has your church or its ministers put themselves in a place over your life that only Christ can fill? 7. Do you since the authority of the church is Christ and His Word, or the pastor and the staff?
“We love you Pastor, we know you can turn this place around! We are counting on you! By the way, I know what you should do…do you have a minute?”
IS BEING THE CEO HEALTHY?
90% of pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week. 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families. 33% state that being in the ministry is an outright hazard to their family. 70% of pastors constantly fight depression. 70% say they do not have someone they consider a close friend. 33% confess having been involved in inappropriate sexual behavior. 66% of members expect a minister and their family to live at a higher moral standard than themselves. 70% say they have a lower self-image now then when they first started. 50% feel they are unable to meet the demands of the job. 80% of pastors and 84% of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged. 90% feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands. 80% of pastor’s spouses wish their spouse had a different profession. (statistics provided by The Fuller Institute, George Barna, and Pastoral Care inc.)
Ruler Above Expert
Pastor‟s who are working in the CEO model don‟t necessarily exhibit all the negative attributes represented here. Humble, Christ-like pastors often operate at a church with the CEO structure in place, but that may be the very cause of unrealistic expectations and the high rates of pastoral burnout. The structure should promote a biblical approach to leadership, not the American corporate model. The danger of an unhealthy structure is that it can negatively affect an otherwise good leader. Pastors are often carrying a burdened that should be shouldered by the entire body, not just one member of it. The team building approach encourages shared responsibilities and mutual accountability where the leader is surrounded by a support team that owns the decisions, vision and
Leader With Learner
Others are Accountable
Mutually Accountable Share every Responsibility According to Gifts The Buck Stops with US Consensus Builder Servant Humble Let‟s Seek Out God‟s Way Follow Christ Seek to Please Christ
Delegate the undesirable Responsibilities
The Buck Stops with ME
Decision Maker Served Arrogant My Way or the Highway Follow Me Seek to Please Me
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