January 23, 2013

By Phil Maynard

Doug Anderson, author and speaker from the Reuben Job Center, shared in a workshop the following:
“The test of a congregation’s discipling process is whether their core leaders are preference driven or mission focused”

The difference between these two ideas is huge…


Preference Driven is about getting our way and being in control. Mission Centered is about bearing fruit as we follow Jesus.

Mission Centered leadership is an outgrowth of maturity in discipleship. Of course the text from Luke 9:23 comes to mind…

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me”

For our leaders to be mission centered they must first be followers.

The three bullet points under Mission Centered on the image above deserve a little more attention:

Cross Bearing Service: it is a good practice in selecting leadership for a congregation to choose those who are already serving and have demonstrated leadership.  I think one of the biggest mistakes made is that of selecting leaders from the congregation in the hope that by putting them in a leadership role they will become more active and committed.  This is a recipe for failure and has implications well beyond the personal success/failure of the one selected.   Observing persons already active in a ministry also give a good indication of their passions and gifts for leadership.



Cooperation:  Leadership in any capacity is a team sport.  As John Maxwell puts it “if you  are leading and nobody is following, you a re just walking around”.   There is no place for ‘lone rangers’ in the leadership capacity.  Again, selecting leaders from those already serving gives the opportunity to observe their ability to work with others; serve a greater good; and build healthy relationships.

Laser Focus on Mission:
The best leaders are the ones focused on accomplishing the mission and vision of the congregation. This, of course, means first that there is a clear vision to be focused on and second that any personal agendas are set aside.


Do your leaders find themselves constantly ‘locking horns’ and dealing with conflict?

Is your church filled with busyness but not really making a difference in the lives of people or in the community?

If so, you might want to look at how leaders are selected and discipled.