I haven’t yet read this book, so this doesn’t count as a review, but I wanted to explore its major thoughts before reading it. The book is Geoff Surrat’s Ten Stupid Things That Keep Churches from Growing: How Leaders Can Overcome Costly Mistakes.
Here are their ten stupid mistakes:
- Leaders do it all
- Establishing Wrong role for the pastor’s family
- Second rate worship experiences
- Low quality children’s ministry
- Promoting talent over integrity
- Clinging to bad location
- Copying another Successful Church
- Favor discipline over Reconciliation
- Mixing ministry and Business
- Letting committees steer the ship
Just at first blush, it seems like most of these are common sense biblical directives, aren’t they?
Here’s my take on the first five on the list: it’s pretty well done.
Biblical ministry is equipping the entire church to minister. It is helping, leading, training, teaching, and of course, ministering with the goal of producing more folks who are truly serving God and neighbor. It doesn’t fit the Bible or life to have a leader-do-all mentality.
Churches do tend to elevate “lead ministers” to an unrealistic standard. Rather than serving as an example for members to emulate, the projected ideal becomes an unattainable standard. Distinguishing a special place for leaders is probably unavoidable because of perception, but it is certainly not the right way to do things.
I’m not entirely sure what “second-rate worship experiences” means in practicality. Second rate to whom? The preacher? The Lord? The visitor? The member? Paul seemed to think that the outsider should be able to discern that something special and wonderful happens in worship (1 Corinthians 14:34-35) — both intellectually and emotionally. Biblical worship is the harmony of many tensions: approaching the unapproachable God; reverence and wonder; the humility of a servant and the pride of the heir. As a moment of training, evangelism, and recharging–worship can’t be second-rate to anything!
Low quality children’s ministry. In a lot of ways, this has been one of our strengths. Deuteronomy 6 taught that training our children in practical, applied faith is a (the?) key goal of God’s community.
The Bible is also clear–integrity comes first. There is no room for performers as leaders in Christ’s church. One preacher said, “You can’t both present yourself as clever and Christ as the ultimate treasure at the same time.” Remember Simon who wanted to buy his way into Holy Spirit giftedness? It wasn’t received very well…
The next five next time!