Budgets get managed. Projects get managed. Buildings get managed. New initiatives and programs require management. But what about people? In the midst of projects and programs and initiatives, churches too often forget about people. We assume that the program or the initiative or the line item in the budget will take care of the people. Even worse, sometimes we manage people like we manage programs.
As Christ followers, we are not called to manage people, we’re called to lead them. And programs, initiatives and budgets don’t take care of people; people take care of people. Christ didn’t come to earth to put a management structure in place. He didn’t die for the sake of buildings or programs or budgets. He lived and died to inaugurate a kingdom, a kingdom whose goal is the transformation of people. The Kingdom is not built on programs and budgets; it is built on the intentional development of transforming person-to-person relationships.
Why are we so inclined to manage programs rather than lead people? People are messy. They talk back. They have their own ideas. They require relationship and emotion. Budget numbers can be manipulated or finessed. People shouldn’t be…I guess neither should our budgets. Initiatives have defined ending dates; people last a lifetime. Problems in programming have defined solutions; problems in people’s lives are harder. People require leadership; projects require management. And leadership requires self-investment in a way that management doesn’t…especially if Jesus is to be our model for leadership.
As we seek to become more like Christ, one of the things we struggle with is how to become leaders of people rather than managers of programs. We cannot manage people into closer relationships with Christ, and the Kingdom is not a collection of budgets and programs and new initiatives. Kingdom transformation requires that we be intentional about leading people into relationships that have the potential for Christ-authored transformation.
Next weekend (November 8th and 9th) those in leadership positions at Wieuca will gather to talk about “Leading Transformation.” We’ll talk about the differences between leadership and management. We’ll talk about how we can better use our leadership positions to transform people instead of just managing projects or programs.
Good and diligent and careful management has its place in the church. But as long as we continue to be a collection of hurting people seeking to transform a broken world, management will be secondary to Christ-centered leadership that aims for God-inspired life transformation.
If you’re in a leadership position at Wieuca (deacon, council member, Covenant Group leader, Ministry Team leader, or committee chair) we need you to be present next weekend. If you’re not in a leadership position right now, we desperately need you to pray. Pray for our retreat. Pray for how God might be guiding you to move into a leadership role at Wieuca. And pray that every one of us might be willing to follow those who lead our church as we all follow Christ together.