I recently read an article in the New York Times Business section about a man who recognized the danger of middle management. His company was growing and they had gotten to the size that they added a middle level of staff. This level of staff had as their only job the task of watching over other people doing their jobs. This middle level did not add any knowledge to the organization or product innovation. This level only made sure other people did their jobs.
The owner of this company was annoyed by the bureaucracy of business. He downsized his company until he could grow his business without this middle level of staff. He I think he must have realized that the avoidance of middle management might limit how big his business could get, but he did not mind.
I think there is a danger in my congregation for me to operate in that middle management level. I spend so much time delegating and supervising others that I remove myself from the knowledge and innovation level of action. I know that it is important that I equip the saints to do the work of the ministry. Ephesians 5 tells me of that duty.
But how do I equip the saints? I don’t think I equip the saints to do the work of the ministry just through a business model of delegation. People are equipped to do the work of the ministry when they hear the good news that their sins are forgiven and that they are a new creation in Christ.
As a church we are strong when we are called to trust in our identity in Christ Jesus. We are bold to act when we act in Christ Jesus. We are a community when the love of Jesus holds us together.
I don’t know how congregations successfully scale up when the pastor is more a C.E.O. and less a proclaimer of the good news. I know congregations can get large and they can be successful. I just don’t know if I understand the role of the “executive” pastor in such a congregation. Yesterday, I spent some time looking at different congregations’ websites. I found the “about us” section interesting. A couple pastors listed their responsibilities as “I am the pastor of _____, and I manage the staff.” Hmmm I don’t want to ever list on my website and celebrate that I am an executive. It might be true and necessary, but that is not my call. I am called by the Spirit to be a pastor.