I’ve never read the book, Good to Great. A lot of people I respect have read it and recommend it. It’s probably a good book- heck it might even be great. The premise of the book, as I understand it is that in order for an organization to succeed it must insist on having the most talented and skilled people in positions of leadership. The premise seems solid and I know several people who would apply it to church leadership.
I’m coming to realize, however, that Jesus (surprise, surprise) uses the lowly ones to do his most impressive work. I’ve known Michelle (not her real name) for nearly fifteen years. As long as I’ve known her, she has struggled with a crushing sense of spiritual inadequacy. At our church, we used to have old style altar calls. Michelle would avail herself of them on what seemed like a monthly basis. Every time her prayer was the same, “Help me do better.” Every time her tears of remorse were real and abundant.
Lately Michelle has caught the vision of our Life Teams. She has become a leader. Without official training of any kind, she has begun pulling people together to pray, engage with Scripture, and reach out with the gospel. Michelle doesn’t really see herself as a theologian or even a leader but she is influencing an ever-widening circle of spiritual wanderers. Her Life Team which began with just her, her husband, her adult daughter, and her three grandchildren has been growing almost weekly as participants have been inviting people in their own relational networks. After roughly four months, her team has doubled in size with 80% of the new members being “unchurched.” How many megachurch pastors would like to see growth percentages like that?
Michelle is different now. Instead of always praying about her failings, she’s praying for the ex-con who’s been attending her Life Team and for her granddaughter to follow Christ, and for her friend’s daughter to commit to the group. I don’t know of a human being who would have predicted that Michelle would be such an effective church planter but God chose her for this work and is effectively using her. Perhaps we should be less concerned with going from good to great and more concerned with going from good to God’s.