Bill Couchenour | Monday, June 06, 2011
I was in a meeting with a church staff recently when they asked us to speak with their Board of Elders. They wanted us to advise them on some practical governance issues relative to the DNA, vision, strategy and tactics of the church. But one of the specific issues had to do with reticence on the part of some Elders to let the pastor attend the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit this year. The Summit is an event the pastor has attended a number of times, but this time there was concern that there would be some “secular business people” speaking. The implied thought was that business principles had no place in the church.
I believe the concern was genuine, but it’s founded on a false dichotomy of the sacred and the secular. And it’s a dichotomy that we tend to apply arbitrarily. We will allow the laws of physics to inform how we do a worship service, yet be skeptical of what we might learn about great organizations from Jim Collins. We study computer manuals without regard for the spiritual condition of the author, yet won’t consider what we can learn about trust from Warren Bennis. We follow accounting principles precisely, yet ignore some of the best leadership insights from Ron Heifetz. We even ignore jewels of wisdom from fellow believers, like Peter Drucker, because they’re primarily associated with business.
It’s kind of like saying gravity is a physical principle, so it doesn’t really apply in the church.
There is a spiritual dimension to the church. But, if I understand correctly, that same spiritual dimension exists in all facets of life, including business. Aren’t we to commit all we do, all we are and all we have to God? If we do, wouldn’t that make it sacred? If there is a conversation over coffee that leads to a spiritual breakthrough, is that table at Starbucks any less sacred than a chair in a church? Faithfulness and trustworthiness are fundamental Biblical principles AND they are vitally important for sustained success in business. It seems to me that a principle is either from God or it’s not - regardless of whether it’s applied in the church or in the marketplace. I guess that means the…
Pragmatic is Spiritual (Remember: God made math)
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