Why Transactional Leadership Hurts the Church

"1. Transactional leadership prioritizes results over relationships.... 2. Transactional leadership values performance over genuineness." - TGC

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JD Miller's picture

I have been deeply concerned about the shortage of pastors.  I view the pastoral role as a calling from God, but I believe that God calls pastors, not church CEOs.  Sadly too many churches are not looking for biblical pastors, but rather for activity directors and motivational speakers.  Consider all the programs that today's pastors are expected to implement, organize, and keep running.  If we look at the church of 250 years ago, they did not even have Sunday school.  I am not suggesting that all the extras are bad.  What I am suggesting is that it is not healthy to get stuck in the idea that if we do not have the extras, then we are not a real church.  

Years ago I was a chaplain and involved in jail ministry.  I remember talking to a former pastor who suggested to me that every church should have a jail ministry.  I disagreed with him.  Although this was an important ministry, I pointed out that there were a number of other ministries that would be just as important, but that in most small churches there were a limited amount of people and resources.  Today pastors are expected to coordinate a whole list of desired ministries rather than being expected to teach the word and equip others to go out and do ministry the rest of the week.  

We have created a model of- "ministry has to happen at church" and "the pastor has to make it happen"- instead of a model of- "there is plenty of ministry to do and the church people should be doing it as they go." This puts a lot of unbiblical pressure on pastors to preform.  

Apt to teach is a qualification for pastors.  Able to run a bunch of extrabiblical programs is not on the list in scripture.  In the early church an extrabiblical program did come up.  It was a good cause- feeding widows- but it was not the pastors job.   

If the pastors were allowed to focus more on prayer and the word (studying it and teaching it) then I believe we would have a lot more men going into the pastorate.  If we don't really care how much attention he gives to the Word of God as long as he can run a bunch of programs, look good in front of people, and give a good interesting talk, then don't expect God to call men like that.

Too often the Christian media and others give the impression that unless a church has a solid roster of programs then it is not a real church.  Perhaps we need to get back to the idea of what a real church and a real pastor actually is.