Written by cycleguy on August 8th, 2018

Flashbacks are bad…usually. I guess it depends on what you flash back to.

Several years ago I was the pastor of a church when there was a major shift in a pastor’s responsibility. I was always used to seeing myself as a shepherd, as one responsible for the care and feeding of the sheep. Then along came a shift. The shift involved the pastor taking on more of a CEO position and the church being run like more of a business model. I attended John Maxwell’s seminars. Bought his and others’ books. Tried to implement the whole paradigm shift to the church.


Yep. I failed. Miserably. I knew when that happened that my time was limited in that current pastorate. I couldn’t make the shift to the CEO/business model.


I moved on to another church…one that didn’t have or want that model. Good thing. I would have failed there too. My tenure there was not as long as the previous one, and definitely not as long as this one. But that was for other reasons completely.  In the meantime, I read several books which helped me tremendously. Two books by E. Glenn Wagner: The Church You’ve Always Wanted and Escape from Church, Inc cemented my decision.  Another was Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome by Kent & Barb Hughes. Two books on preaching which helped were Famine in the Land by Steve Lawson and The Passion-Driven Sermon by Jim Shaddix. They helped convince me of my purpose: preach the Word and quit worrying about modeling the business world.


Why? I started reading a new book today: Immeasurable by Skye Jethani. It is subtitled Reflections on the Soul of Ministry in the Age of Church, Inc. Sounds like it would be right up my alley. Two quotes hit me hard  The prelude to the Introduction:

There are no measures which can set forth the immeasurable greatness of Jehovah…If we cannot measure we can marvel. Charles Spurgeon

The wrong approach put a premium on numbers and results.  You measure success by numbers. They were the qualifiers. When I was entertaining the whole idea of Church, Inc I was losing my focus on people as people and seeing them as numbers to be counted. Chairs to be filled (we didn’t have pews).  🙂

This post is getting long-much longer than I like to go- so I will continue it with another.


6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Kari Scare says:

    Forwarded this post to my pastor. Thought he might be interested in some of the books you mentioned. Also, my church seems to be struggling figuring where it fits in all this.

    • cycleguy says:

      I’m honored you would think that much of it Kari. But so glad you care about him like that. I know how important it is for me to have that kind of support. Hopefully, he will be able to figure it out. Also, if he would like I will loan him my copies.

  2. floyd samons says:

    I always ponder at how God created mathematics that are miraculous in what they can accomplish…

    Then you compare the greatest things in life and try to use a number to count how amazing and you realize how limited numbers are in God’s economy…

    • cycleguy says:

      For sure Floyd. People can be numbers or statistics but God never intended that to be the case. They are His people. His children. His sheep.

  3. Crystal says:

    I am SO GRATEFUL that our church is not run like a business! Seems to me that they would take away the “family” Dynamics, and Grace would vanish. I’ve visited churches in the past that had the “business” feel and it was all about the money and numbers. For example, I was out of state on one occasion and driving a borrowed vehicle which was slightly outdated, and frankly was an eyesore in the particular church parking lot, and it was very apparent that they were looking for wealthy people to “add to their church numbers”. Although I was dressed nice, I didn’t have the most expensive clothes on. It was a Sunday when that church was putting on a special meal and event to draw more people from the community. Only one person said “hello” without me initiating it, and then quickly turned their back. I very quickly caught on that I was not in the “right class” of people they were looking for. It was definitely an experience that made an impact on me, and in retrospect taught me the importance of seeing people equally despite their financial status, and helps me value our OVCF family and the way church here is not run like a business venture. 💞

    • cycleguy says:

      Thanks for the kind words about OVCF Crystal. I’m glad we can be that church which looks beyond numbers and sees people. I pray it never changes. And so glad you found a home here.