Preachers are a Pain

Faith and Leadership posted this week an article adapted from my recent book Leading with the Sermon. It begins:

Leadership is necessary only if an organization needs to go somewhere and if an organization is accountable to a mission more important than its own survival.

Many people in leadership positions vainly try to foster warm relationships or strive to be efficient managers rather than risk-taking leaders, not because they are so nice but rather because institutions crave the placidity of the status quo and reward those who keep them comfortable.

Amicable caregiving (the default mode of most of us pastors) is always less costly than courageous leading.

Trouble is, no human gathering survives or thrives without continual transformation, refitting and repositioning, particularly an institution that’s accountable to a living God.

A leader puts an organization in pain that it has been avoiding — utilizing its very best resources of avoidance — in the faith that the organization can marshal the resources to have a future.

As G.K. Chesterton said to the church of his day, if you like the look of a fence post and want to preserve it as it is, you must repaint the post every year.

Read the rest here.


Leading with the Sermon: Preaching as Leadership

Purchase from Amazon

Purchase from Fortress Press

In this addition to the new Working Preacher Books series, prolific author William H. Willimon makes the compelling case that two key pastoral tasks–preaching and leadership–complement, correct, strengthen, and inform one another. Preaching is the distinctive function of pastoral leaders. Leadership of the church, particularly during a challenging time of transition in mainline Protestantism, has become a pressing concern for pastors.

This book shows how the practices, skills, and intentions of Christian preaching can be helpful to the leadership of a congregation. It will also show how leadership is an appropriate expectation for sermons. In preaching, pastoral leaders can help a congregation face its problems and coordinate its God-given resources to address those problems. Sermons can be an opportunity to articulate, motivate, and orchestrate God’s people in doing God’s work in the church and in the world.

Leading with the Sermon includes chapters on why pastors must be leaders, why preaching is such an essential task in telling the truth about the gospel, how preaching makes better leaders, and how better leaders make better preachers.

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