Monday, June 22, 2009

You are what you read...

If what you eat tends to define who you are, then what you read must have a pressing influence on what you think, how you think it, and what you do from those thoughts. I tend to like biographies. I like anything to do with history, usually focusing on things prior to the Korean War. I'm not sure exactly how that has influenced me, but I'm sure that the reason I think and talk about history a lot is because that is what I spend time studying. The reason this interests me is how I see the church becoming more and more like a corporate business structure. Not necessarily the overall Church - but at least the American Church. The leadership principles, practices, strategies, growth management, philosophies, ethics, building programs, etc of churches in America now seem to parallel that of the business world. As I have wondered why that is, it dawned on me how much church leaders love reading business books. I am sure it started long before, but I clearly remember when "Good to Great" first came out and every church leader seemed to be reading it. From that point on, I have noticed that the books most likely found in the hands of pastors are those that have been either written by those in the business community or based upon lessons learned from the business community. With the current sorry state of the economy and business affairs in America, I wonder where the Church is headed. Obviously the Church can claim that they, in the end, follow Jesus and that will separate them from the crash & burn of Wall Street...but if all the Church is doing is consuming that which the business community has to offer - what chance will it really have? Plus, where do people fit in? Does the American Church care enough about people - or have people become (like they are in the business community) mere statistics and measurements of success? Bill Hybels once said that the local church is the hope of the world. He may be correct, but only if the church is the one setting the pace - not simply following the tide of the latest and greatest business guide to successful leadership.