Church Leaders and Kitchen Nightmares

I enjoy watching BBC America, especially Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.  In the program, chef Ramsay tries to help struggling food establishments regain their footing by challenging them to go beyond what they are currently doing to survive.  Oftentimes, the methods Ramsay suggests (and sometimes just implements without any warning) are radical (changing the decor, the menu, and even the restaurant name).  Of course, with such radical changes come some pretty heated discussions and a reluctance to change by some.  However, by the end of each episode there seems to be at least a glimmer of hope for the once-failing restaurant.  Although Ramsay's approach to making these changes is not necessarily what one would glean from reading a Christian leadership text, his methods do work for three reasons:

1. Ramsay has had experience with starting a new restaurant as well as times of working through struggling restaurants.
2. Ramsay is to the point and does not "beat around the bush" to get to what he is trying to accomplish.
3. He is determined to help the struggling restaurant begin to stand on its own two feet again (he really cares!)

I think that church leaders can learn from these methods as well:

1.Maybe you have had some experiences working through struggling situations, maybe you have started a new church.  Yet again, maybe not.  But that is alright!  It is important to seek out someone who has who can give you counsel and guidance in this area.  This is why I appreciate the role of mentors in my life.  Sometimes the techniques are simple, other times I am stretched in my faith and abilities to lead in new ways.
2. Second, I know that I need to learn the art of saying 'no' to some things that come up.  If I am to be effective as a leader, I need to be to the point and let my 'yes' be 'yes' and my 'no' be 'no'.  There is nothing worse than leaving someone who looks up to you hanging on a 'maybe'.  We are leaders, we are to lead with integrity, compassion, and vision.  On the same token, if we don't know we need to fess up and seek out someone who does!
3. Finally, as a church leader I know that it is easy to feel dis-ease with the church at times, especially when it seems "they just don't get it!"  This is why it is important for every church leader to remember why we do what we do (Because we have responded to a call!  Because we love God!  Because we love people!).  Our job is to encourage the church to stand upon its own two feet once again, even in light of struggles that seem to overshadow the vision and mission of the church.  This is when the church really needs leadership to be at its best!  (and it won't happen if we shrug our shoulders and say we don't care).

I am curious to know what you think about leading the church today?  If you are not a church leader, what do you look for in a leader?



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