Churches can easily become leadership graveyards. All it takes is a little centralized decision making and some micromanagement and you’re already well on the way.
Leadership graveyards are filled with markers commemorating the great leaders who were once there. We honor these men and women and tell stories of the great ways God used them. But we speak only in the past tense. There’s a massive leadership void in the current generation and little leadership impulse coming from future generations. A place where leaders once thrived now seems devoid of leaders.
What makes leadership graveyards so dangerous is how easily they can happen.
If only one or two people have the authority to make decisions, it won’t be long before there are only one or two people left who have the ability to make decisions. Hoarding power, not trusting people and insisting that all decisions come back to an anointed few is the ideal recipe for a leadership graveyard.
Leaders, stop selling your people short. They don’t want to simply execute orders from on high. They want to think, create a plan, be held responsible for the outcome and give it their best shot. They want to matter, to be challenged and to reach for something that’s slightly beyond themselves. If organizations create a culture where that is allowed, leaders not only stick around but more and more leaders are drawn in from the outside. If we fail to create this culture, there will be a leadership exodus that turns our organization into a graveyard.
I’m writing all of this as the pastor of a less than one year old church plant. There’s a lot happening in our little church and I understand the temptation to make all of the decisions myself. There are days when it just feels like it would be faster, easier and better to be a bad leader than a good leader. It’s on those days that I need to remind myself it might be faster and easier, but it isn’t better.
God has blessed our church with amazing leaders. Smart, talented, dedicated men and women who want their lives to count for the glory of Christ and the good of people. They don’t need me to control them. They need me to empower them. It’s risky but it’s the way a church reaches it’s full redemptive potential.