Sabbatical Reading: “Lead Like it Matters”

Churches either have “it,” or they don’t, argues Pastor Craig Groschel, in his book “Lead Like it Matters.”

I think there is a lot of truth in this. I remember when I was growing up and my family would drive back in to the city to the church where my brothers and I were baptized and confirmed. We had a small youth group. Probably less than 10 kids in this little city church. But they were family.

In Edina, where we lived and where I went to high school, there was a large church with a very active youth ministry. They probably had over 100 young people gathering weekly. And when they went on retreats, they took 2 to 3 coach buses. Young people walked around the high school wearing t-shirts with that youth group’s logo on it. (The youth group even had its own logo!)

That group had it.

Our group couldn’t pull off a retreat. There weren’t enough of us. A big event for us was when 6 or 7 would go on a hayride, or would go to a haunted house, or something like that.

Groschel argues that congregations have “it” because their leadership has “it.” And I don’t disagree. At least not completely. And congregations that have “it” are growing, are dynamic, are innovative and draw new people.

Who doesn’t want to have it? Right?

There are a couple of words of caution that I want to toss into the mix here though:

To have “it” as Groschel defines it, is not necessarily the be all and end all. Sometimes “it” means popular. And to be a popular church is not necessarily the same thing as being a faithful church, or a serving church. In fact, sometimes, I think popularity might be a bit of a red flag. Sometimes we chase popularity…we chase “it,” like some kind of golden calf. Yes, I want Trinity to have “it.” But even more, I want us to be faithful, even at the expense of having “it.”

Don’t get me wrong. I think congregations need to have many of the things Groschel describes. We need to be authentic. We need to have integrity. We need to remain focused on Jesus. These things are all true. But we do that not so that we can be attractive to others…but instead so that we can be faithful to God’s Word and God’s will.

My little youth group that I had growing up…it was small…but it was mighty. We had a different kind of “it.” Even in our midst, the Holy Spirit showed up.

I like this book. But it is written out of Groschel’s theological and practical world view. And while that works for him, (and I give him a lot of credit. I think he’s a good communicator, and a good leader) we have to recognize that it may not work for everyone.

I want to have “it.” For all of the right reasons.


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