I have a Gmail account and on my home page I have a widget that gives me the leadership quote for the day. Last week was the following quote:
“Managers are concerned with today, Leaders are concerned with tomorrow”
I cant remember who said it but it poses an interesting question about the way we structure our churches today. I think it’s safe to say that we place a lot of importance on ‘Managers’ today and not so much on ‘Leaders’. Things need to happen, we need to get things moving and have something to present, someone needs to keep the ‘day to day’ going. This is the role of a Manager, no one would disagree with this and its an important role. We tend to place less importance and even forget about the need for a good Leader.
If Managers look after the ‘day to day’ then Leaders are the ones to take a church forward. Anyone in business will tell you that to stay in the same place is impossible. You are either moving forward in business or you are falling behind, there is no ‘staying in one spot’. The same is true for the church, we are either growing and moving forward in our faith and following God or we are going backwards, there is no in between.
Now I’m aware that these are quite simple definitions of these roles and its deliberate. I’m not saying one is better than the other, in fact both roles are crucial. However in a pinch we tend to look to ‘hire’ someone with a Manager’s characterisitcs over someone with a Leader’s and this is often at our peril.
Simply having a Manager means the ‘day to day’ gets done well and everything looks like its happening. We can say we ‘do’ this or ‘have’ this because we can point to it as an example. However a Manager without a Leader often means a church will rarely look to the future, rarely look at what’s to come and what we need to do to keep moving forward. The focus is on the ‘day to day’ and unfortunately its not until that completely falls apart do we look at what else we should be doing. By that stage things are long past gone and its incredibly difficult to right the ship. With just a manager things look great on the outside but inside there is the hamster on the wheel, working hard to keep it spinning but never going anywhere.
Likewise a Leader without a Manager can be just as destructive. A Leader can tend to look ahead and neglect the ‘day to day’ needed to keep things running. They can get people excited and involved but often there is a lack of structure needed for the excited to get and stay connected. Leaders show the way forward and then walk in that path, setting the example and taking the people with them. Leadership is all about serving. A Leader must ‘get in and do’ before they can expect others to follow.
As you can see we need both Leaders and Managers, especially within the church today. I know that these are ‘business’ terms but don’t let that put you off. Its the characteristics of these types of people that are important, not their titles. If we want to truly be effective in our ministries we must have the balance that comes from having both a Manager and a Leader. Both seek God for His leading, then one leads the people forward while the other keeps them connected. Lose one and its like losing a leg, it becomes incredibly difficult to get moving and stay moving.
We need to recognise the need for both skill sets and do everything we can to place Godly, gifted people in these roles.