Change or die: An Open Letter to the Church


Church for Sale.

Although this blog is written specifically to the church, the principles are universal. Exceptional and ethical leaders are needed everywhere. The church should be the primary producer of effective leaders who will help to transform the world for the better.


Who are these effective leaders? They are disciples (followers) of Christ. In the Gospels, we find Jesus investing His time into His disciples whom He taught to be both followers and leaders. The church will produce exceptional and ethical leaders when it places a primary focus on developing disciples… who can become great leaders.


In business, I have seen people leave good organizations because of their supervisor, manager, or leader. Similarly, people have left churches because of a change in leadership. The new pastor could preach and teach well. However, he did not know how to lead effectively. As a result, many simply would not follow him. It is one thing to teach a discipleship class. It is quite another thing to role model Christian discipleship. We have too many “leaders” proclaiming much but demonstrating little. A great percentage of people do what they see more than they do what they hear.


According to Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck, leaders are grown via a Development Convergence framework.


"Leaders are developed as knowledge (truth), experiences (posture), and coaching (leaders) converge. All three are essential for a leader to be developed. Knowledge is what leaders must learn and know. Experiences encompass the ongoing opportunities to serve and put knowledge into practice. Coaching occurs when a shepherding leader applies the knowledge and experience with a new leader."


Neither knowledge alone, experiences alone, nor coaching alone will develop leaders. All three must converge to develop transformational leaders. If you view development as part of discipleship, you want to use both knowledge and experiences, alongside coaching from godly leaders, as tools for the ultimate goal of transformation. – Geiger & Peck, 2016


Our communities will not transform until our churches transform. The chances of government transforming communities are slim to none. Our churches will not transform until church leaders transform. Church leaders will not transform until there is an intentional effort by the church to begin a proactive journey towards developing godly leaders via discipleship. A disciple/leader maker delivers knowledge, provides experiences, and offers coaching. All three are needed.


There are some great church leaders serving God’s people today. However, there are still too many people in leadership roles who do not know how to lead. Because of their low leadership capacity, they are unable to develop other leaders and they are not making disciples who can make other disciples. You cannot give what you do not have. Churches that were thriving yesterday are at risk of closing their doors today due to ineffective leaders. This must change!


Each church should have a pipeline of disciples who could effectively step in if the primary leader is unavailable. Moreover, these leaders/disciples should be role models in the marketplace of what God intends leaders to be. They know the Great Commission. They know and have embraced the church’s vision and purpose. A leadership pipeline that develops leaders for the Kingdom can reinforce the vision that believers can lead and minister for God’s glory in every context God has placed them. – Geiger & Peck, 2016 This includes businesses, communities, government, non-profits, schools, hospitals, etc.


I’ve only scratched the surface in this blog. This limited space does not provide an opportunity for me to discuss other dynamics such as internal versus external influences, supporters versus saboteurs, and Joseph (great #2) versus Joshua (#2 groomed to be #1) phenomenon. May we keep in mind what J. Oswald Chambers stated, “True greatness, true leadership, is found in giving yourself in service to others, not in coaxing or inducing others to serve you.” In other words, what is your true motivation for leadership? Chambers also reminds us, “The life of the leader should reflect the beauty and orderliness of God.” Does yours? Does mine?


The local church must change or it will die. If we do not intentionally make disciples a top priority in the church, many of our institutions will not exist in the next decade. Yes! Evangelism is also key. However, if we bring them in the front door only to see them leave out the back door because of ineffective leadership and limited discipleship, we only delay the inevitable. Real leaders are disciples! Now let’s go make disciples (Matt 28.19-20).


I look forward to reading your comments. Blessings!


Please contact us today for a free consultation. At Apogee, we work with entities to strengthen their pipeline of leaders. Based in Cleveland, Ohio, we specialize in helping others lead through change and we offer premier leadership training programs and experiences. We welcome the opportunity to help you grow your team and/or you in the areas of leadership and personal growth. Find out more at apogeeleader.com/development.


That's it for now. Until the next tip...


Mike Nwankwo

Founder & CEO

216.505.0254


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