President of Eurolead.net, founding principal of one of Australia’s largest Bible Colleges, reprezentant of over 60 churches or leader of Institute for Creativity, Leadership and Management (ICLM) are the possible titles by which Mr. Scott Wilson can be addressed with. He holds Master degrees in Theology, Organizational Training and Development, and in addition to that he has completed Doctor of Ministry in Church Administration. Married to Linda who is pastor of a growing church, having two grown children, he travels around the world training leaders, preaching and consulting with churches. From a bird’s eye view we will look at his currently latest book about leadership. Thereafter I will try to discuss utilizing its content in contemporary church and at last my home church will be put into spotlight of this mission and people oriented jewel.
The G-Factor” is the seventh book in a row that originated from pen of this experienced leader. The fundamental line across the whole piece of the work is striving to show the importance of using vision, values, goals and strategy in contemporary society to grow a church, while dealing with conceivable emerging issues and objections. We are invited into the world of professional administration and influence which is used in secular units today as Doctor Scott Wilson demonstrates these principles applied in church setting. For those that might see this effort unnecessary, nonspiritual or even distrustful towards leading of the Holy Spirit, author endeavors to explain the suitable balance between the technocratic and spiritualistic way of thinking. However the main focus of the book is to set forth the four components of a Procedural Model in a way so one would be thoroughly able to implement its function into his own church. Easily formulated theory is enriched with numerous quotes from prominent theologians, entrepreneurs or sociologists. Additionally diagrams, schemes and charts are put to place in order to clarify specific propositions. All of this is accompanied by his own stories crowned by a very personal story of Magnus and Gunilla Persson and their journey of starting a church called United in Malmö, Sweden until now, without which writer says: “this book would be just a theory”.
Using the book in a changing process in a local church
Before going into the discussion it is necessary to define the range of interest, concretely the term “local church”. When speaking of a local church I do not have in mind a certain church in a specific city or state, neither specific denomination. Yet I need to point out that this discussion will not include pre-reformatory and reformatory denominations for as I have elaborated on and articulated in other papers, most of the contemporary radical changes would require complete reconstruction of the church. Still I see it feasible that some ideas could be implemented in lower levels of their hierarchy.
Now this debate will be focused on contemporary (post-reformatory) churches from modern or postmodern societies around the world like the one I came from. Generally in these churches there are no doctrinal issues of integrating such way of thinking rather than an attitude that massive planning should not be part of the setting because the church is a family with authentic relationship by all means not based on hierarchy of any kind (besides pastor – the shepherd). Moreover, that by exhaustive human preparation all the leading of Holy Spirit will be lost and Sunday meeting will be merely 60+ sections of well planned program. This attitude always raises in me one question. Is Holy Spirit really restricted merely to time of our Sunday meetings or can he be also just as much present in the process of arrangements? I have personally met with this negative attitude towards administration much more often than with its opposite. Therefore I see it is more necessary to deal with the former rather the latter. I would like to first of all advert to several actualities currently occurring in our congregations. It is surely not for no reason that some say that it is hardest to work effectively in a church setting e.g. in comparison to a common company or association. Surely it is difficult to work with people that have only a very blurry vision of a common destination or goal, because without a clear aim there are numerous possibilities to go astray or at least not where others go. By saying blurry vision I really do mean blurry vision, since The Great Commission (Matthew 28) is not a clear and specific vision. It is too broad in its perspective and it can be interpreted in countless ways. Volunteers have hard time finding out what is expected from them and even if they do they are not usually bound in any way to stick to the task they have enrolled to. In this situation leader has a really puzzling job to do, for if he gives them too much work they might leave discouraged for not meeting the expectations and if he assigns them too little work they might leave because they do not feel adequately appreciated. Without a common ground there is nearly no facility for people to be engaged, feel ownership and personal responsibility over what they are doing and it is exclusively all up to leaders to find just the right amount of job for each individual. What I argue for is that ownership, and feeling of responsibility is needed in order to do the work God is calling us for in Matthew 9:37. Still, this ownership and responsibility is not some kind of a collective sort that was possible to see for instance in communism; but a genuine, personal, and truly conforming kind. In other words we need to be on the same boat and row together! On that account any local church today ought to seek the guidance of Holy Spirit in order to discover the common direction God calls us to presently and perfectly unify us through it. Statistics and rations are not our enemy, these practical ideas do not reflect anything unfavorable, but they are intelligible blood tests that are reliably leading us to the part of the body which is in disorder and needs to be restored. Mr. Wilson deals much deeper with these questions and offers a number of elementary examples (such as the one with the doctor) based on scriptural background (Church as the body of Christ) on which he illustrates utility of these methods. In all of this we need to keep in mind that ultimately the dispute is not whether local churches can or cannot survive without using systems like Procedural model. By long tradition it had been proven that they can. We are rather asking; what is the best attainable way in present time to reach as many as possible? For I hope we all agree that fearlessly keeping our “37” stable members for last 10 years is not the kind of victory we all seek for the glory of Gods kingdom. We are not complacent with merely maintain status quo… even though one could say that it still bears some kind of success.
Application of the book in the ambient churches
Many churches use only some of the thoughts presented in this book. Leadership groups do not write visions, values, goals or strategies. Perhaps at best there are some unexpressed values hovering among members; however it is certainly nothing one could firmly refer to. Yet a strong sense of family thinking is present in rather a pleasurable fellowship fashion than in form of a flexible organization in which everybody seeks to find a required task that he or she fits to fulfill. This is also displayed in the decision making processes in the church – Many decisions need to be adopted by the majority of members and even more needs to be firstly approved by the leadership. In compliance of what was written above this structure is leaving only a very diminutive space for Procedural model and technocratic goal oriented thinking. Out of my personal experience I would estimate that mindset of most is prevalently aiming for comfort than for mission. I do not suppose that by integrating this way of thinking the problem would arise in anticipated lack of spirituality, for it is more likely that just a mere feeling of no need for such methods would stand in the way. All things considered, before going to any real discussion about incorporating such practices, motivation and a number of arguments are needed to stir awareness of people. It is needed to show that there are good reasons, relevant objectives to think that turning to such practices is first of all biblical, secondly beneficial and at last nearly necessary today. The theory and examples both from Bible (fisherman) and from life (doctor) in conjunction with true story from Magnus Persson create together a powerful and persuasive tool that procures ground for that very real discussion which ought to follow afterwards. By showing all the other faulty managements and leadership myths, I see an excellent chance that leaders or elders our churches could possibly identify themselves in one of those models and see the inefficaciousness of holding henceforth to it. Right the next step would be in seeking other possibilities to grow and onset focus on mission. Because of its provoking arrangement it challenges us to pick up the scythe and start working on the harvest. He is clearly speaking about “toil, action, labour” in which all Christians ought to be engaged to see more fruits of Gods fields. This is a loud wakeup call that requires action. And if by any cause this truth comes and goes unheeded then there is truly no vision present in the church whatsoever.
From my perspective it is plainly sad that we often see secular organizations grasping the biblical model of leadership much better then churches do. Listening to people like Doctor Scot Wilson can guide us in outrunning anything that the business world has ever seen. Truly, rigorous planning merged with divine leading of Holy Spirit is a combination that can bring revival in now quickly growing godless society.