Are you a Jimmy Fallon or Jay Leno Type of Church Leader?

You would think that Jay Leno had it made.

He was the King of late night television.  He was (on most nights) crushing the competition.  Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel would have LOVED to have the ratings that Jay Leno enjoyed… right up until his departure last week.

But Leno was, by most accounts, forced out early by NBC.  A new article/commentary at Mashable tells why:  Jay Leno, while he was doing great in the traditional measures (nationwide TV audience in a given demographic) could not make the switch to the future (which included youtube, vine, twitter, facebook, and all the viral directions that TV and late night was going).

Enter Jimmy Fallon. Jimmy Fallon can post a self-contained short-form video to youtube and garner a couple of million views in a short period of time. Fallon regularly plays to the younger audience via social media… crowdsourcing many of his gags from the internet itself.

Leno would never turn the corner with that audience.

And… NBC needed him to in order to insure the future success of the Tonight Show franchise.

So… how does this apply to the church; and to you as a leader?

Because you might be a Jay Leno.  You might be very conventional in the way you’re approaching ministry.  And things may be going great guns now.  But that doesn’t mean they will in the future. Particularly if you don’t change.

I’m not saying that you need to take your ministry ‘viral’, specifically with any kind of technology, short video type of things.

But I am saying that the people and culture you are ministering to are changing.  And you need to as well.

Here’s the problem.  99% of churches won’t be pre-emptive in their strike to insure their own future (as NBC did in this case).  Most of the time, they’ll wait until the leader is totally out of sync with the community and culture, attendance is down, and most key leaders have left, before they suggest such a change.

If you’re a Leno… that’s not all bad.  You’re effective right now. And that’s because you’re good… you’re seasoned… and God is with you.  Just be sure that don’t keep your head in the sand in the future.  You need to grow as a leader.  You need to change with your community (not doctrinally, but culturally).

If you don’t… quite honestly, you probably won’t find yourself like Jay Leno (going out at the top of your game).  You’ll probably find yourself hosting the tonight show for another ten years and leaving (or being asked to leave) when a Jimmy Fallon kicks your butt on another channel. And you’ll leave behind a church that is much less active, much less productive, and much less able to reach their community for Christ than if you would have considered some relatively easy, slow changes years earlier.

What can you learn from Jay Leno? From NBC? From Jimmy Fallon?  How does this apply to your leadership.

(You don’t have to agree with me… the purpose of this post was to make you THINK).  🙂


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