Back in the 80’s I had a very wise and forward thinking pastor. His name was Dr. Wayne McDill, who is now Senior Professor of Preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
I was looking through some old journals for a specific piece of information. As I’m want to do, I got sidetracked reading notes and observations from the past including an item Wayne shared in a disciplining session for his elders. Using the illustration below, he talked about two models a pastor or leadership team could use to “build” a faith community.
The viewpoint of the pastor or leadership in the exploitation model is that people are the resource for the work. Note that the focus is on the leadership directing and using people so they can “build a great church for God.” The common lament is, “If only the people were more committed.”
The viewpoint of the leadership in the edification model is that God is the resource and that he will build his church. The focus is on God and Eph. 2:10 and Eph. 4:11-16 would be the guiding ideal.
I was recently reading a paper by Krista Petty titled, “Making Good Ideas Happen: How to Help Your People Unleash Their Best Innovations,” where she talks about flipping the common church leadership paradigm and equipping and guiding the people of God to launch new ministries. Like Dr. McDill, she sees two models.
Using the first diagram below, Ms. Petty explains, “The senior minister, staff or leadership are paid to come up with the vision and direction, followed by the events, activities and programs to make the vision a reality. Often, leaders have the ideas and together with the people, they do the work.”
Instead of this American triangular organizational business model with top-down results, Petty suggests that “shared-vision leadership can present itself more like a diamond as both leaders and individuals shine with vision and passion to reflect blessing to the community. As individuals are impassioned with service ideas, successful church leaders will not be the only keepers of the vision; they will also serve as a conduit and encouragement for helping others develop in Christ and for community ministry benefit.” Sounds similar to Dr. McDill’s edification model.
I really don’t think many in the modern institutional church realize just how much American business models and theory have seeped into and permeate the way we go about the work of God. Our dependence is all too often on the right model, marketing effort or program (a business model) instead on God and his people.