This weekend thousands of Churches across the world will be opening their doors and hosting men and women who are supposedly experts in leadership. They will be inviting them to teach them how to develop leadership skills. The intent is that once they’ve absorbed these leadership skills and have utilized them for personal edification and growth, they will then be equipped to unleash them within an ecclesiastical setting. This is the Global Leadership Summit, and several Churches across the city will be taking part in it. I’ve had several weeks now to think about this whole affair and I think there are some real concerns to be had. For that reason, I wanted to ask a few questions;
1. What if the tips, tools and techniques that these men and women wish to focus on are contrary to the biblical model of leadership? Are the same characteristics and qualities that a capitalistic corporate world finds invaluable the same ones that the Bible focuses on and in which we should develop?
2. Is there an elevation of man and a focus on his abilities, his wisdom, his will, and his perseverance? To what extent does it focus on psychology, sociology and personal development that may have as its foundation an unbiblical view of mankind and his nature?
3. Do the leadership ideas and ideals from a secular corporate world necessarily translate to the Church, and should we want them to? Does getting leadership advice from the CEO of a large corporation and implementing it in a Church run the risk of turning the Pastor into the CEO, the Elders into the CFO’s and board members, and the congregation into consumers? Does this treat the Church like an organization that needs to be run, managed, analyzed and grown? Is that the message that is being tacitly or explicitly encouraged?
4. These speakers, as well as speakers in the past, have been a curious mix of conservative pastors, liberal emergent pastors, seeker sensitive church leaders, oneness heretics, atheists, agnostics, and people possessing all manner of spiritual gradation in between. Are these the best examples of leaders we have, and how will their religious worldviews bleed into their presentation and theology of leadership? For certain pastors, what role will their currently pragmatic, unorthodox approach to ministry play? If there are some who are very good at twisting the Bible to suit their needs, is this something that will be pointed out and watched for?
5. Do we really want to support Bill Hybels and emulate his leadership ideals? I think his tenure at the Willow Creek Community Church has in many ways been utterly and completely disastrous. This was no more evident than when the Reveal Now studies came out and showed that the biblical illiteracy, ignorance and spiritual shallowness of the members of his Church had reached Corinthians levels. Can a case be made that Willow Creek’s methodology seems to multiply the number of almost-converts who dabble in spiritual matters until they are no longer amused, and then fall away without ever coming to authentic faith in Christ? Having failed so publicly in so many areas of ministry, can it be said that this man is a Christian leader?
Ultimately I think that people can go to this conference and learn much. I am not denying that there are lessons to be learned, and I imagine from a certain perspective this could prove fruitful for many people, at least on a certain level. I think the choice to go and attend is ultimately up to a person and in fact I wish I could attend, but work prevents me from doing so. At the same time it seems to me that if a pastor wants to show himself a leader, I think a great place to start would be to caution his Church about the very real dangers of this event. A leader would shepherd them through this, pointing out the briers and pitfalls before they occur. There are some real, legitimate concerns here, and I think a pastor would be wise to share them with his congregation, before they descend into the Global Leadership Summit world.