Unanimous Church Leadership

Pastor Andy Stanley and author Jim Collins debate church leadership with some interesting comments on the spirituality of leadership. But what’s even more interesting is their agreement on the perils of unamimous church leadership:

Both men agreed on the dangers of unanimity. While it’s often posited as evidence of the Holy Spirit’s guidance, Stanley warned his own elders against requiring 100 percent agreement on big decisions. “It sounds so spiritual, but… I knew it would’ve been the worst possible thing we could do.”

Collins concurs: “I’ve never found an important decision made by a great organization that was made at a point of unanimity. Significant decisions carry risks and inevitably some will oppose it. In these settings, the greatest legislative leader must be artful in handling uncomfortable decisions, and this requires rigor.”

Interesting comments in the light of my own church’s struggles in the aftermath of the Episcopal Church’s 2003 General Convention where a gay bishop was elected. My church has a unanimous leadership model which has effectively taken us nowhere on this issue.

One thought on “Unanimous Church Leadership”

  1. It’s interesting, because my church also uses the unanimous model, and all the elders are reportedly quite fond of it. They’ve had a couple occasions where all but one of them agreed on a certain thing, and then over time they all began to see they were wrong, and ended up reversing their decisions so that they all eventually agreed with the one who was the “odd ball” in the beginning. And this was over some pretty big decisions.

    So it’s not all bad.

    Of course, this is all assuming the elders are each spiritually healthy people who are living in the spirit and have a real relationship with Christ. If that’s not the case, then you’ve got trouble either way.

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