What I offer are not The Ten Commandments for Church Failure, but indeed if your church leadership “religiously” does the ten things herein, your church will fail. In fact if your church does just one or two of these commandments, your church will most likely close her doors for the last time–before Jesus returns. I recently read Donald R. Keough’s book The Ten Commandments for Business Failure, and was impressed to write a series of blogs on the subject as related to churches. Some of the genres the Simple Discipleship blog deals with are church organizational development, change management, and leadership, each of which are concerned with doing things well, but most of all, doing the right things well. We are discussing church leadership issues, and as such, the Holy Spirit must be the beginning and end of the equation of the choices of leadership strategy.
Volumes of secular and faith-based books discuss leadership, and yet we see leaders and their organizations fail. There have never existed more resources to develop leaders, but if it is not applied, then all the materials are essentially worthless. Many have wondered at the simplicity of the Decalogue, yet God summed up all of the Law, the prophets, and the two Great Commandments in ten well-chosen imperatives. If we obeyed God’s Ten Commandments, the world would be a better place—perhaps heaven on earth. Perhaps these Ten Commandments for Church Failure, which I offer below, include some grains of common sense and spiritual truth:
- Thou shalt not take risks.
- Thou shalt not change anything.
- Thou shalt not be open and available to all people.
- Thou shalt not admit mistakes.
- Thou shalt not be accountable.
- Thou shalt not take time to pray.
- Thou shalt put all thy faith in every “new thing” that appears to work in another church.
- Thou shalt love thy bureaucracy.
- Thou shalt not communicate expectations clearly.
- Thou shalt fear the future.
Like Keough, I am adding an eleventh commandment for church failure: 11. Thou shalt lose thy passion for Christ, the lost, growing in Christ, and ministry of excellence.
I am certain that each reader will improve the list of commandments because these are not infallible. Someone once said, “Management is about doing things right, but leaders are concerned about doing the right things.” My goal is to motivate readers and leaders to think anew of the potential of churches doing the right things well to the glory of God.
Dr. Tom Cocklereece
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