‘Why We Can’t Build A Mega-Church On Jesus’ Leadership Model’

Wess Daniels is sharp, articulate, intelligent, prayerful and looks like Brett from the Kiwi comedy duo “Flight of the Concords”.  If you’re a fan of getting ‘feeds’ from blogs, Wess’ gathering in light is one that doesn’t disappoint.

He’s recent post on leadership, payed roles and pastoral gifts is thought provoking:

“We also need to come to terms with the fact that alternative leadership can only be exercised within a Christian community that sees itself as an alternative community of faith (see part two of my series). In other words if you have a church full of passive recipients then they will need a CEO model of church to maintain that status quo faith… Alternative leadership and alternative communities go hand in hand.”   

 for more on why Wess thinks “We Can’t Build A Mega-Church On Jesus’ Leadership Model” click here:



why we’re on the subject of look alikes does anybody else think these two look alike?


(John feel free to find a doubleganger for me 🙂 )


I think this is Wess dancing in this photo:


18 thoughts on “‘Why We Can’t Build A Mega-Church On Jesus’ Leadership Model’

  1. The CEOs hold “The Truth” and will not let it go, they will continue the chew and spew kinda of thing – the passive have been taught to be passive, those in power see it as their calling. I rember an intensive I once went to, I think they called it the Ned Flanders kind of thing.

  2. I agree that the “Pastor as CEO” model isn’t Biblical. Yet, at the same time, somehow those who reach out to business people need to figure out how to do so in a culturally relevant way, too. We just had a business man join our small, primarily “blue-collar” church, and he’s quite uncomfortable with the lack of measurable goals in our vision and goals. How do we meet him where he is, w/o creating the church into a business or sales model. Also, w/in that model, I’m thinking that there are ideas, methods, and lessons that we shouldn’t throw out with the bath water.

  3. I will do all things, become all things, to reach as many as possible for Christ.

    I think Jesus demonstrated many leadership characteristics and strategies which are not inconsistent with a sound business model of leadership. As someone who is open to all forms of church which bring people to Christ, I am coming to see that there are as many unhelpful dogmatic statements coming out of emergant streams of church as there have ever been from more established groups.

  4. First off, I do not look like that clown, he looks like me.

    Secondly, you will not do all things to reach people, and if you did you would be an idiot. You will not sleep with people to lead them to Jesus. You will not lie to people to lead them to Jesus ect. So the question is, is there anything inherent in the business leadership model that is in itself immoral? And I would say there is.

    Jesus was very very specific, (does that mean dogmatic?) when he said that we are not to rule as the gentile rulers do, lording their authority over others, but instead to be servants, to be the least to be like the youngest. This was said in direct relation to the disciples wanting to establish an order of leadership, or hierarchical standings.


  5. Maybe it was me – I’m sure it was!!!! As one who spent 6 years in the “paid ministry”, some aren’t CEO types (I’m not), I was your puppet type. They pulled the strings, I danced the dance, they paid the bills, put a roof over my family – but now older/wiser?? – no more I dance to a different tune, no strings attached.

    Rev – I like your comments, I’m reminded of Mark 10:45 that’s specific, isn’t it?

  6. What you have said about the morals would surely go without saying, although I agree that some of what is done in the name of the Lord strays from my view of morality…..but…the issue is that what some will quite happily do, others would not, depending on their interpretation of scripture. Jesus is of course the example of the perfect leader…it appears to me, in my understanding of Him, that he often led strongly, sent out the disciples, trained them up for various areas of ministry, not unlike what Borden proposes. Of course a minister is to serve, and not Lord it over, but as Mark R states, a minister is not to be a puppet either.

  7. A minister is not the Lord of all creation, Jesus was. And yet, his ministry went more and more into I call you friends, not servants. Jesus said that even though he was the Messiah, he is among them as one who serves, that even though in the world the ones sitting at the table are important and the ones that serve are less so, he was the one serving. His act to be imitated in leadership was washing his disciples feet, in a day without toilets, and where everyone walked everwhere in sandals, he got on his knees and did what no citizen of Rome could be compelled to do.

    In my mind there is no justifying the opulent lifestyles, the self centered entertainment preaching, the ruling over, the disempowering structural systems, and the elitism of the business ceo model of Christian leader. Jesus came as a lowly working class bloke from a bad neighborhood, and filled his community with working class blokes, a traitorous tax collector, and worst of all women (shock horror), I am pretty sure he didn’t travel business class. If Jesus was truly “the way” (another dogma?) then why are we seeking for a better one? When Jesus says the first will be last and the last first, why do we always insist on the best and the brightest, the stars and celebrities being our leaders?

    I am sorry, I just don’t see how emulating the emperors of mammon, is the kingdom option in a world completely sold out to the pursuit of profit.


  8. Not all mega church pastors drive Bentlies….Rick Warren drives an old truck, and gives away most of his money to HIV and other worthy causes…

    There are many who embarass the church with their opulent lifestyle, but that has little to do with style of church government….

    An alternative to ceo model might be the old baptist model where we all get together to fight over the colour of the toilet paper, tearing each other apart with senseless meetings, and forgetting about the world outside our world going to hell. Also tearing apart the pastor and making him jump to the congregations tune.

    Both of us come from our own experiences….I love the more pragmatic approach to church government because it works….we are not chasing mammon, but something far more valuable, so we should adopt business like principles if they help people come to Christ.

  9. I think Rick is a very admirable man, and I am very impressed with him. I happen to know that he is actually interested in transitioning into a less hierarchical mode of church.

    But again it seems like you are suggesting that whatever works best is best. This disturbs me, shouldn’t we be striving to be disciples? Regardless of whether it works well? Didn’t Jesus say, well they hated me, they are going to hate you too? Didn’t he command us to make disciples teaching them to “do all that I have commanded” And didn’t Jesus very specifically tell us to not lead the way the world leads? Wasn’t that specifically spoken by our Lord?

    This is my problem with structure, our current structures make is mostly impossible to live out Jesus examples and commands. When our structure is the same as it is now, we wind up with the “baptist” thing were everyone is fighting about stupid things. Now I am not advocating “my structure” nor “my style” of leadership, but rather any number of styles that are not driven by a system that has been developed to maximize success and profit (not saying profit is the motive of all churches, it is the motive of all business).

    And lastly, it is interesting that people always justify their position by one person (Rick Warren), but surely you have to admit that by and large “most” mega church pastors are living in the upper middle class zone. And most church leaderships are practicing power over their people rather than alongside of.


  10. So the test of a structure is that it hasn’t been used in the business world? Some of the people of this world are very smart in how they make money, what we do is far more important than that…and I think it is wise to see how they structure the resources they have wisely.

    God speaks through secular art, secular music….because His image is within people, even if they dont know it….why cant He also speak through business people who are canny?

    Seth Godin is a great example to me of being smart about how we go about church ‘marketing’ check out his blog, you might find it interesting.

    Jesus used illustrations from the business world all the time…the vineyard owner, the master who gave out talents,

  11. The story of the Talents shows us what happens when we refuse to be part of the oppressive systems of economic injustice, it is a pity we have not seen the kingdom in such ways.

    It is funny that Jesus “marketed” himself in a way to make people count the cost of discipleship, not to coddle them along the way. Jesus illustrated the power of the small, rather than the populist route. Jesus didn’t neglect the large, but he did not trust them as he knew they would not pass the test of discipleship. The modern structures are made on the business model, and in that their goals are pragmatic, with results as their focus. This seems to me to be counter to the life and teachings of Jesus.

    I find it hard to justify the “business” model for structure and leadership when we don’t see it in Jesus, or the disciples. If it was such a good idea why didn’t he do it? Why did he intentionally tell stories that people did not understand? Why did he say things that He knew would push people away? Why did he deliberately offend the educated, the wealthy, and the spiritually elite? Why do we try to be those?

    The kingdom of God requires us to turn from (repent) the kingdoms of man, not use them for our own agenda.


  12. I think he did demonstrate many practices and values the modern business world embraces…..

    discipleship – mentoring

    empowering leaders, responsibility matched with accountability….all these are things I see Jesus practicing.

    He developed 12 leaders who would change the world.

  13. Yeah, Jesus also taught them to put the kingdom first, to not look for financial gain, to live in community, to not have power over each other, to be guided by the Spirit not by market forces, demographics and trends, and to be willing to give your life (both living and dying for) for your friends. I have no problem with business men using Jesus as an example, but if they do so their business will be radically different, and successful in a completely different way.


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