not naming names

But hitting the bulls-eye dead center.

For a pastor to chart a new course which effectively empties the church until the only ones remaining agree with him is unethical. For the leader of a service organization to pursue a new direction that leaves the organization vulnerable to collapse unless people go along with his choices is simply wrong. This is not servant leadership. Really it is not leadership at all; it is coercion. The congregation or organization is not allowed to make a free, informed choice about its new course or direction. The leader has imposed his will, not served. …

A genuine servant leader lives within the stewardship boundaries outlined for him in the governing documents of his church or ministry. If he finds himself in conflict with those, he either removes himself or calls for the church or ministry to reconsider its position. If he does the latter, he does that first, not after positioning things so that saying no will lead to catastrophic consequences. Leaving people no choice but to bend to your will is the antithesis of servant leadership.

Read the whole thing.



  1. Brian says:

    Typically, most people call that tyranny or a dictatorship when done on a national scale. When done within the context of “Christianity” they try to label it, “following the Lord’s leading” and “we’ve prayed about this and have peace” trying to deflect any negative criticism and justify the change. Sad, tragic and how it grieves our Lord.

  2. I don’t think he was talking about the Church of Scotland, but it fits there, too.

    The further you push changes, the more who would oppose them drift away, and the easier it becomes to “win votes.” It’s funny, I don’t see “winning votes” ever advocated in the Scripture as something we should be trying to do.

    I don’t always agree with Dave Doran, but I always appreciate him, and that was a great article. Reminds me of something I was taught in seminary — if you are going to change on something important to your congregation, the only ethical thing you can do is resign, even if a lot of your congregation would support you. Anything else is a betrayal of those who wouldn’t support the change and who thought you were in agreement with them when you came.

    • Dave’s article has many applications. There is a clown locally who came in to a local Baptist church claiming to be a fundamentalist. The church is a member of a non-fundamentalist fellowship. He claims he plans to take them out of the fellowship, in the meantime has “grown by subtraction” (his words) but is still in the fellowship.

      Some local fundies will fellowship with him because he waves the right Bible flag, but his ethics stink.