Wednesday, May 23, 2007

to BHAG or not to BHAG?

Something I've often thought about is "How far should we go in applying business principles to Christian ministry?" In this interview, Phil Vischer, the creator of Veggie Tales tells about how applying a principle from Jim Collins' classic book Built to Last led his company to bankruptcy. An ironic twist is that I remember Bill Hybels in his book Courageous Leadership saying that Christian leaders ought to be applying the very technique (setting BHAGs) that ruined this guy.

The question I'm asking is how much is too much?
Should Christian leaders read business books and say, "All truth is God's truth" and use whatever sounds good?
Should we read them and glean the parts that square with Scripture and discard the rest?
Should we avoid business books altogether in order to avoid the pitfalls that Phil Vischer fell into?

Thanks to Brian Bill for the link.


greg hazelrig said...

I think that the answer is "who really knows what will work?"

We have to be careful in trying to run our churches like a business and at the same time know that there is a certain aspect of business sense needed to grow a church.

Anonymous said...

The question is, What's God's will? Is the first step to seek first God's Kingdom? Is their wisdom in the Solomon's comments that people without God's revelation go astray, but those who follow His will experience joy?

Does God have a BHAGG (Big Hairy Audacious God Goal) for each of His children? If so is it He who each child should be asking the question?

Anonymous said...

God calls some to lead large organazitions, some to lead only one other to Him, and others still to simply be faithful. When we step outside that which we are given, we start to put ourselves first. God does not need our money, our ministries, our talent, or anything else we can offer with the exception of ourselves in faithful service. Lead and grow your church Jason not with your heart, but the heart of Christ. Use the tools given, but don't look at them through your rose colored glasses, instead use the Christ colored glasses as your filter.

Larry B said...

Here's what I've learned over time from business books:

Most, if not all, business book writers forget that "Correlation does not imply causation". By that I mean that what they may have thought lead to their success, in reality usually isn't the direct determining factor.

Until someone writes a book that says here is exactly what I am going to do to be successful in business, and then sticks to that exact prescription and succeeds, then I will buy his book.

In the church we already really have the here is how to "succeed" before and after story if we look at Christ's teachings before his death and the reality of his fulfilled promise after his death.

Jason Woolever said...

Larry, those are good points. Most secular "successes" didn't think about the specific ingredients that are found in their books ahead of time. They looked at what they did in retrospect and told others to do that.