7 “Organic” Church Leadership Excuses

Our team is working with churches all over the country. Together, we work on a plan and repeatable process to double their Great Commission impact. The increase in Kingdom impact is staggering. With all that work going on, it’s not difficult to spot common themes in church leadership. We plan to write about these themes from time to time.

An emerging theme is the use of the word “organic” to self-describe a ministry’s leadership position.  It goes something like this, “We don’t want to be too programmed or strategic, we would rather see organic results.”  Or sometimes they say, “We only want the growth in our Kingdom impact to happen organically.”

This position has well-meaning intent behind it, but in some cases it is an excuse to not lead or plan well. We certainly don’t want to control or manipulate outcomes in our churches. However, we must be strategic and intentional in our “planting” and “watering.” The Bible says that when we are intentional in these things we will see organic results. He will bring the increase! (See I Corinthians 3:5-15.)

One of our facilitators and coaches, Matt Wright from Willow Creek Community Church, recently pointed out that organic farming is more difficult than traditional farming. He is right on!! Have you walked the aisles at Whole Foods? Organic food is wonderful. But it better be early in the month so there’s plenty of folding money in the “grocery envelope.”  (See Dave Ramsey.) Organic is tasty. Organic is healthy. But organic is costly because it’s time-intensive and expensive.

Organic farming requires intentionality.  So does traditional farming by the way. All farmers think through when to plant, fertilize, water, and harvest. And there’s not a farmer who doesn’t realize he or she isn’t in ultimate control. God gives the increase.

Here are seven excuses sometimes behind the organic church leadership position:

  1. An excuse to not plan. Planning is not a spiritual endeavor to some. But planning can be deeply spiritual. We pray for God to enter our planning experience, give us wisdom, and seek his guidance at every turn.
  2. An excuse to not frame and cast vision. Scripture says that without vision people perish. We hold vision loosely because he can do immeasurably more than we can imagine.
  3. An excuse to be disorganized. We serve and orderly God. In fact, dis-orderliness dishonors Him.
  4. An excuse to not execute well. All things are possible, but not all things are expedient. His church deserves our best undirected efforts.
  5. An excuse to not grow. His church is meant to grow. Unleashing the Kingdom potential in your church is a righteous burden to bear.
  6. An excuse to not change. Growth requires change. Sam Chand has recently written a great book about this called Leadership Pain.
  7. An excuse to not face conflict. Leading well requires an agenda and plan.  And sometimes this agenda comes in conflict with that of others in your church or on your team.

There are some excuses listed here but you can probably think of more. Let’s lead with intentionality! No excuses. You will be surprised by the organic results.

What are some excuses you’ve heard for poor leadership? Comment below!

Bart Rendel

About Bart Rendel

Bart was an executive leader at Crossroads Christian Church in Lexington, KY and Central Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV for over eighteen years. Bart’s passion for serving churches comes from his upbringing as a pastor’s kids where he learned about the intentionality of reaching and growing people in Christ from his mother and father. His conviction runs deep. Bart and his family remain connected to Central Christian. He is married to Catherine with two children and finds the occasional time to play a round of golf or take in a Kentucky Wildcats game. He has been helping churches and leaders around the country increase their Kingdom Impact since 2004.

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