Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

Being in the Business of Jesus

A bit of caution, this is one of those "stream of consciousness" type posts. 

Have you ever been a part of the conversation about whether a church should be run like a business? It seems to come up every once and while and it seems there are two somewhat predictable positions. First, there are those that think we just need to be all about Jesus. Business is for business and doesn't work in the Church. Second there are the folks that believe the principals that apply to running a good business should work in the Church as well. They think the people who just want to "lead like Jesus" have no backbone. 

My opinion: The church shouldn't be run like a business, because most business is run like crap!

You see, it has nothing to do with either side and everything to do with quality leadership and good organizational management. Good leadership - truly good leadership - is good no matter what you are running. Quality organizational performance techniques work everywhere. It's not a matter of non-profit, for profit, religious, or atheist. Of course we would manage and lead specific to these different areas, but the principals are the same across the board. To say different either way is ignorance.

I won't name the speaker, but I've heard an "expert" in church leadership go as far as saying John Maxwell doesn't know leadership. He stated that we just needed to be Jesus, not leaders. He wanted us to stop identifying ourselves as leaders and stop trying to run the church like a business with "tyranny" or "fear". Funny, because I'm pretty sure whether or not you believe Jesus was the Messiah, we could all agree that he was an amazingly strong leader. Putting religion fully aside, all historians would agree that Jesus existed. He spoke to groups of thousands and changed the course of history. Whether or not his teaching is true (which I believe it is), it is still followed 2000 years later. Isn't "being Jesus" being a strong leader?

My stance is not that a church should be run like a business, but that a church should be run well and so should a business. The principals of doing this are the same. One of the most respected business gurus of our time, Jim Collins, wrote, "most business fall somewhere between mediocre and good... why would you want to bring mediocrity into the social sectors?" It has nothing to do with business or no business. It has everything to do with the fundamental principals of quality leadership and organizational development. It's funny how you can study a concrete principal like servant leadership from Harvard, the US Military, John Maxwell, and Jesus. Good leadership is good leadership, and it matters greatly that we identify ourselves as leaders and constantly work towards growing and developing.

Don't run the church like a business... or a church. Just run it well.

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