Leading Change
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Three New Rules of Ministry

“If I start a ministry then people should come.”

“Attendance equals commitment/alignment.”

“Those who have the most external gifts and abilities always lead”

I highly recommend Daniel Pink‘s book A Whole New Mind if this kind of stuff is interesting but you have yet to get a 10,000 foot view of the paradigm.

Drew Lundgren’s comments on my last post inspired this one.

Between older and younger leaders there seems to exist some tension related to different paradigms that can be diffused and allow for more participation and learning between the generations.

These three I have seen COUNTLESS times interacting with church and para-church leaders.

If I Start a Ministry Then People Should Come

I’m all about people starting new ministries but often times when I talk with those ministry starters it’s about them and not the ministry. Not in a sinful sense but more so philosophically. I mean that the focus is on what they want to do rather than what those they are seeking to lead are already doing. This paradigm gap causes ministry leaders to think of followers as task executors, rather than emerging/potential leaders. The goal of the ministry is to manifest the leader’s vision EXACTLY how they see it, rather than letting the vision empower, align, and support the followers.

“Attendance equals commitment/alignment.”

Certainly at the leader level this has to be true, but more and more new members to ministries are not used to committing to ANYTHING regularly, let alone a new venture. The downside is that many emerging leaders do not get opportunities to demonstrate their alignment/vision/motivation until later on in their ministry career. Providing a variety of social events as well as paying attention to who takes initiative (either in a ministry or a social role) is CRITICAL to overcoming this paradigm shift.

“Those who have the most external gifts and abilities always lead”

The temptation in a ministry is to leverage the gifts of people at the expense of the mission, vision, and values for the gain of MORE PEOPLE or LESS HARD WORK (initiation, follow up, and development of people) for the leaders. Social media, and blogging and Facebook in particular, have revealed social and ministry leaders that prefer to communicate with text or indirectly. These people are not competing with extroverted leaders but rather a whole new group of potential leaders has finally solidified that can complement the previous group. Also opportunities to lead and serve have doubled for this same reason.

Have you experienced any of these “new rules?” What would you change or add?

photo courtesy of dragonpreneur


  1. That first one should make 90% of leaders take a deep breath. How many leaders have you come across that actually are working to nurture leaders who have just as much of an impact on the vision as them as the person with the organizational power.

  2. Almost time to hit the rack, so I’ll be concise:

    #1: Great call. Once I get on-campus, I would prefer my role to be that of a coach: find students who are locked into the Great Commission and help them figure out what that looks like in their context. If all I need to do is guide and direct, that’s money.

    #2: I might be misunderstanding this one, but I think it depends on the student. To me, the relationship between attendance and alignment isn’t always a direct one. Some students could be attending one event a week, but reaching their frat/sorority, sports team, and study groups. On the other hand, there’s another kid who’s at EVERYTHING just for the social connections. Can you unpack that one a little? I might be off…?

    #3: Still chewing on…

    • re #3

      Journalism/English majors to write for your website

      Tech-capable students to run the live-streaming of a meeting

      Socially capable introverts to manage the fan page, add new people to the page as a friends, and get them connected to others

      Photographers to share their photos on your ministry’s website to inspire creativity and platform their talents.

      Video production (this is not new, but more popular than ever)–such a great place to involve and make new students feel connected.

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