Six things that can lead to really bad leadership…

Phil Cooke lists six situations and cultures of churches that can hide bad leadership, at least for a season:

1.  Money… mistakes can be fixed and bad leadership and decisions can usually be rectified if you have deep enough pockets.

2.  Resources… like multiple assistants, a talented staff, a beautiful facility, etc.  A great staff can really mask bad leadership at the top, at least for a while.

3.  Bubble Cultures… where the church has limited interaction with the outside world, and therefore no comparisons for performance.  Cooke says this is why some external consultants can be useful for churches… so they don’t get stuck in their bubble thinking everything is hunky dory.

4.  Hyper-Loyalty… where loyalty is so highly prized that it covers a multitude of leadership sins.  In these situations, leaders are sometimes able to play the loyalty card on those around them even in the midst of extreme incompetence.  If someone is teaching loyalty over competence, watch out.

5.  Nepotism… If there is a culture of nepotism, it can create safety nets for the leader.

6.  The Political Animal… this is where the leader is the master politician and knows how to create alliances and support.  And they’re not afraid to use the political prowess to protect their turf and their position.

Read more on each of these here…

Have you encountered a really bad leader being protected by one or more of these situations or cultures?  I have.

Tell your experience in the comments section…



  • Stephen Canfield May 21, 2013 Reply

    Pretty much every church I have been at is like this. Why? Because most board members are hand-selected and ignorant. Also, because its hard to find a senior pastor. Its the typical, if he can speak, he cant lead, if he can lead he cant speak, or he is marginal at both and people would rather deal with a bird in hand.

  • Bill Parr March 2, 2015 Reply

    I have seen this more than my fair share of times as well. I am a Youth Minister and nearly al of the churches I have worked with or for have this major issue at the top. The worst for me was the money issue. The elders with the money make the rules be they biblical or not. I have been sent packing recently for trying to correct this issue in the church. I am finding it hard to want to continue in my vocation due to this massive issue in the church and how it negatively effects the coming generations. I am at a loss as to how to proceed. It would seem there is no stopping this horribly destructive trend.

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