5.0 out of 5 stars
Every leader should read this
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on 20 May 2011
On the plane ride back from Seattle the other day, I read Jim Collins latest book How the Mighty Fall. I've always been a huge fan of his work and this one is no different. While all his stuff is written for businesses, there are a ton of applications for churches.
In this book, Collins seeks to answer what leaders, companies and churches can learn from the failure of others. Is there a time that you can see a company is about to fail? Is there a path they all take? How do you know when a company/church full of energy, innovation and momentum, is there a time you know they are on the road to falling? Are there clearly distinguishable stages of decline? If so, can you spot the decline early? Are there telltale markers? Can you reverse decline, and if so, how? Is there a point of no return?
The reality is that according to Collins, "There are more ways to fall than to become great."
History shows that churches go through phases of this like companies do. The largest churches 50 years ago, many of them don't exist anymore or are no longer the largest, most effective churches. What happened? For many of those churches, the same as the companies that Collins talks about. They had no succession plan for leadership, they didn't develop leaders from within, and the big one, they became complex and got away from the thing they did best.
The best example in the book of this was the difference between Best Buy and Circuit City. Circuit City was once the standard in that industry, but they diversified and got away from their primary flywheel, the thing they did best. Churches have the tendency to do this as they grow. They add ministries, all good things, but it often takes away from the thing that is their primary flywheel, the thing God is blessing the most, the thing they have been called to do. Staying focused and simple is incredibly difficult. According to Collins, one of the telltale signs of a company that fell was not complacency, but stemmed more from overreaching.
What churches do is they are effective in something, so they add to it. They think success comes from doing things instead of asking the important question of "Do we know why we are successful, effective or healthy?" Churches are guilty of holding up practices and methods instead of the principles or theology behind what makes them effective. We have to do discipleship a certain way. The music has to be _________. We have to have this ministry or that program, even though it hasn't been effective in decades. What if instead of holding on to practices that aren't effective, we look at the principles to those practices, the Biblical practices churches are commanded to embody and live those out?
As Collins points out, "The best leaders know the why behind practices and effectiveness." They are always searching for the why, followed by the how. Yet, most pastors seek the how, followed by the why.
The last thing pastors can learn is have a sense of urgency. Companies that fell often lost their sense of urgency. I meet so many pastors, and church planters that do not have a sense of urgency. We, more than CEO's should have a sense of urgency. We are talking about the gospel, heaven and hell, eternity. This should keep us awake at night. Churches should be the most urgent organizations on the planet.
Overall, as with Collins other books, high marks. Every leader should read everything he writes.
For more reviews, see[...]
9 people found this helpful