The pastoral obsession with CEO’s

Let me start with this disclaimer. I love Harvard Business Review and have read many books on business and leadership. I also believe that pastors should be good leaders they should strengthen that muscle because leadership matters. How you lead matters.

Here is where I get frustrated. I have talked to many pastors and the lion share of books they read are leadership/business books. I think there is a danger here. I know because I have seen it in myself far more often than I wish. The problem is our goal is not a bottom line that has to be maintained no matter what. The goal of pastoral ministry in my mind is two-fold 1. To train those we lead to do the work of the ministry 2. To make Jesus beautiful to everyone we encounter and grow His kingdom not ours.

When we have an unhealthy obsession with CEO’s we treat people we are called to pastor and lay our lives down for as though they were objects to be used and discarded. When we are CEO obsessed we are more concerned with building our own kingdom at massive cost to Christ’s kingdom. How can we as pastors lead without being led by the holy spirit into a passionate pursuit of knowing Jesus? When things become our treasure we do whatever we can to guard that treasure and people suffer. Tim Keller says it so well when he defines idolatry as being so often “Good things we make ultimate things.” When Christ is our treasure we live for the glory of Jesus. As a pastor, if your reading of books outside of scripture don’t reflect a passion to know Christ, crucified and risen than something is wrong.

We cheapen the gospel by trying to market it and not allowing it to change and transform us. A pastor who has been transformed by the gospel will be driven to know Jesus. As I type this I mourn the years I thought being known by others would bring the fulfillment that can only be found by being hidden in Christ. In 1 Timothy Paul reminds us that “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Pastor you are not called to be a brilliant CEO but a broken follower redeemed by grace who longs for eternity, not for the streets of gold but for the joy of sinless worship before a sinless Savior. The thing about the gospel is it will compel you to do things a CEO would never do. The gospel tells me gain comes through loss. If want to keep my life I must lose it. The gospel will demand things of you that defy logic in human terms.

1 Corinthians 1:18

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.


Directional Leadership: Leading Sideways


Leading sideways – This is perhaps the most difficult and least talked about form of leadership. Leading your peers. This challenges your vision. You can succeed departmentally and fail organizationally. Silo’s are created from a lack of intentional sideways leadership.

By far the least talked about direction of our leadership is sideways leadership. Leading sideways is difficult because you don’t have the leverage you have with leading up and leading down. You also have less personal insensitive. The scariest thing with leading sideways is you can be successful with in the organization you are apart of and that organization suffers because you are so departmentally focused you fail to build the organization. It’s very easy to just put your head down and work hard. When you do that you suffer you team suffers and ultimately the organization suffers.

Here are some questions to ask yourself you suspect you are leading sideways.

1. Am I more loyal to the team I am apart of or the team I lead?
2. Do I share willing my best ideas with my team?
3. Do I share the credit even when I don’t need to?
4. Do I say we more than me?
5. How many times have I gone to someone else’s office/cubical just to talk?
6. Do I believe the best in my peers?
7. Do I find my significance in always being right?