Church leadership is not outside the mainstream conversations about leadership in the world. And while there are many streams of conversation about leadership these days, there seems to be a few main rivers of conversation. One of those rivers is leader as Entrepreneur or leader as Artist. And these two metaphors are in tension within the Church.
Leader as Entrepreneur is a model that is very popular with those in the higher levels of Church leadership. There is a desire to raise up leaders who are visionaries, bold, decisive, and clear. These would be leaders that are innovative and have high energy to take on new challenges and markets. Part of what makes Church leader as Entrepreneur attractive is the underlying mindset of an entrepreneur is one of growth. Growing is the fuel of the entrepreneur. As the old saying goes, "if you're not growing you're dying."
Leader as Artist is a model that is more popular with those entering the ministry or those still new in the calling. There is a desire to raise up leaders who are passionate, creative and focused on the purity of the call. These would be leaders that are worried about integrity and authenticity in order to remain true to the original call rather than bend to the will of new markets. Part of what make Church leader as Artist attractive is the mindset of an artist is one of creating something for the sake of creating it. Beauty is the fuel of the artist. As the old saying goes "Life imitates art."
Ideally it would be great to have church leaders be entrepreneur artists (or creative entrepreneur as The Atlantic calls it), but that is a rare breed in current church leadership. While one model of leadership is fueled by growth, the other is fueled by "being". The entrepreneur creates in order to grow, the artist creates for the sake of creating. One sees creation as a means to an end the other sees creation as a end to itself.
Want to know what leadership style is driving your local church? Take a look a the language that is used. Is is focused on growth or being. Are you doing things in order to get new members or are you doing things because they are worth doing?
If you are not growing you're dying is not accurate when it comes to the Gospel. In order to grow you have to die. In order to made whole you have to be empty. In order to be made clean you have to get dirty. Sometimes growth is needed but growth for the sake of growth is not bringing beauty into the world. Mindless growth only brings weeds.