Whether we like it or not, what happens at “the top” (I really hate that phrase) of our churches or organizations will determine their paths more than anything else. God often, if not typically, works through leadership. When leadership is good—it’s awesome. When it’s bad, it’s really bad. A simple study of the books of Kings gives us a glimpse at the good, bad and ugly of spiritual leadership. However, here’s a contemporary illustrations to make the point as well.
The NFL draft was just held, and as many have noted, the same teams seem to draft well year after year. Not coincidentally, they are also the same organizations that play well year after year. Pittsburgh, New England, Denver, etc. They draft well because they are led well. They don’t get better because they draft better players. They are better, and thus draft better players. Better led organizations typically draft more wisely.
In 1972, something highly unusual occurred. The Rams and Colts traded owners. Or, from another perspective, they traded the entire team for the entire team. Both teams remained in their prospective cities, but ownership was swapped. Again, all the players and the city remained the same. Ownership is all that changed. Carol Rosenbloom, the owner of the Colts, had been one of the most successful owners of the previous twenty years. Robert Irsay had just bought the Rams prior to this historic switch. Here are the records for those teams the first 3 seasons after the ownership change:
RAMS: 6-7-1; 12-2; 10 – 6 (lost in conference championship game). COLTS: 5-9, 4-10, 2-12. In the Colts first five years, they would have five different head coaches.
It’s an NFL illustration of something we all have seen true in churches over and over again. In churches, whether staff-led, elder-led, or barely led—leadership really matters. Take it’s cultivation seriously. It is a spiritual gift (Rom. 12:8) not present in everyone in equal measure. This is something I believe we also know by experience.
Leadership is a precious resource.