I am excited to see that J.R. Woodward at V3 Church Planting Movement is engaging with Shrink on his blog today. You can read the full article at his site. J.R. is crashing together themes from Shrink, Slow Church, and the recent attention given to Amazon.com’s work/leadership culture. It’s a pretty interesting read. Here’s a quick excerpt:
Too often the church has uncritically adopted the practices of the business world, baptizing them with Christian language, then wondering why we are becoming less like Christ in the process. I’m thankful for people like Tim Suttle. In his recent book Shrink: Faithful Ministry in a Church Growth Culture he brings needed and helpful critique to leaders in the church who worship at the idol of bigger and greater.
Instead of following the message of Jim Collins Good to Great, Tim makes the case that as leaders, great can actually become the enemy of good. “I say that Great is the enemy of Good in Christian leadership. The drive to be great (read: bigger, more celebrated, and more talked about) is crowding out goodness and virtue as the central focus in Christian leadership. Christian leadership has too often become about pragmatism (what works, makes us grow, gets me predictable results, is most effective), while faithfulness has taken a backseat. Pastors have morphed into CEO’s, and the worth of leaders has become intrinsically tied to the success of their congregations or ministries.”
Our job is to abide in Christ. God’s job is to produce the fruit. Whenever we get these mixed up it leads us to live frantic lives and create cultures that lead to burned out, impatient, frantic people. We need to avoid the temptation to make our worth dependent on what we produce. Instead, we need to anchor our worth in who and whose we are–God’s beloved. The Father told Jesus that he was well pleased with him, even before he started his ministry. This no doubt helped Jesus to fight the temptation to be relevant, spectacular, and powerful.