Friday, January 22, 2016

Pastoral Leadership - If Growth, then Pain

My back yard on the river

If G, then C.
If C, then L.
If L, then P.
Therefore, If G, then P.

This form of reasoning is called hypothetical syllogism.

If we substitute for G "Growth," for C "Change," for L "Loss," and for P "Pain," we get this:

If Growth, then Change.
If Change, then Loss.
If Loss, then Pain.
Therefore, if Growth, then Pain.

If the first premise true? Definitely! Growth implies change. The tree in my front yard is growing. Therefore, it is changing. It is not the same tree it was yesterday.

Is the second premise true? Yes. To change is to leave something behind. Whenever something becomes new, something old is gone. Fifteen years ago we changed the name of our church. We introduced this to our people and gave them a year to pray about this. Leaving behind the old name was hard for some. We realized this, and wanted to be sensitive to the felt loss.

Is the third premise true? Not entirely. When a cancerous tumor shrinks, the loss of cancer cells is good. In this case where there is loss, there is relief. But it is often true that when a person's heart changes, or the heart of an organization changes, the resultant loss is painful. The resultant loss confirms staying power of the Seven last Words of an Organization, which are: "We've Never Done It That Way Before."

Any church that wants to go forward with God has to keep changing. Otherwise it will wither and die. This is especially hard for pastor-leaders because of Peter Drucker's list of the four most difficult jobs in America, which are:

  1. President of the United States
  2. University president
  3. CEO of a hospital
  4. Pastor