Business Wisdom from James MacDonald

James MacDonald, has offered some business-savvy insight on hiring, management, and firing of church staff, informed by two decades of senior church leadership at Harvest.

One observation and one question.

Observation: James' advice flows consistent with the mainstream of conventional, tried-and-true organizational management thought. If you're going to run a church on a business model (and a 300 staff church at that), you had better follow proven principles.

Question: Is a church that has a staff larger than 90% of churches in America able to maintain any semblance of the local churches described in the New Testament? Put a different way, At what point do the values of the world and the values of the Kingdom conflict in business-model churches?

I couldn't agree more with James' observations about proven character, work ethic, and commitment to a common vision and mission. Those are virtually organizational absolutes.

I guess the real question is, Is running a massive, highly efficient, complex, well-oiled machine-of-a-church the optimal way of fulfilling the Great Commission and facilitating the Great Commandment(s)? I'm no hyper-Reformed biblicist who requires strict adherence to the Bible alone in developing a biblical (biblically consistent) model of church ministry. I do recognize the importance of non-biblical (as opposed to unbiblical) expertise as it relates to how we do faith and church. That said, I think we need to be asking (at least) two questions:

1. Do any of the principles we borrow from the world contradict biblically-explicit or -implicit Kingdom principles?

2. Is our methodology best suited to contribute to our explicit, God-given objective (making disciples of all nations)?


Are there any principles of the business model of church that conflict with Kingdom principles?

Is the mega-corporation model of church the most effective model (let's limit it, say, to a suburban context like Chicagoland) for accomplishing our God-given mission?

What criteria do we use to evaluate such effectiveness? Bob Buford says, "What we measure is really our mission." So what are we measuring, how are we measuring, and to what extent are we measuring it? These are questions that must be satisfactorily answered before any claims of ministry success are touted. Attendance, assimilation (including small group attendance and multiplication percentages), and baptism numbers will not cut it.
Note: For those of you wondering where Donald ran off to, i told him to scram, just in case his antics were misunderstood and offended my friend. Thanks for understanding. ;-)

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