Last week I wrote a little bit about how leaders need to take reponsibiltiy when things go wrong in their communities or organizations. Far too often we are quick to blame it on those we are trying to lead. Seth Godin says it in his book Tribes better than I did and clearer than Edwin […]

Last week I wrote a little bit about how leaders need to take reponsibiltiy when things go wrong in their communities or organizations. Far too often we are quick to blame it on those we are trying to lead.

Seth Godin says it in his book Tribes better than I did and clearer than Edwin Friedman did. He writes,

If you hear my idea but don’t believe it, that’s not your fault; its mine.

If you see my new product but don’t buy it, that’s my fault, not yours.

If you attend my presentation and you’re bored, that’s my fault too.

If I fail to persuade you to implement a policy that supports my tribe, that’s due to my lack of passion or skill, not your shortsightedness.

If you are a student in my class and you don’t learn what I’m teaching, I’ve let you down.

It’s really easy to insist that people read the manual. It’s really easy to blame the user/student/prospect/customer for not trying hard, for being too stupid to get it, or for not caring enough to pay attention. It might even be tempting to blame those in your tribe who aren’t working as hard at following as you are at leading. But none of this is helpful.

To that I say, amen.

Now, let me try and translate this to church / pastor / leader world:

If you hear my idea sermon but don’t believe it, that’s not your fault; its mine.

If you see my new product ministry but don’t buy participate in it, that’s my fault, not yours.

If you attend my presentation worship service and you’re bored, that’s my fault too. (no, I am not saying that worship services should be flashy to feed our consumer needs!)

If I fail to persuade you to implement a policy invest financially in a way that supports my tribe, that’s due to my lack of passion or skill, not your shortsightedness.

If you are a student in my discipleship class and you don’t learn what I’m teaching, I’ve let you down.

It’s really easy to insist that people read the manual our church rule book. It’s really easy to blame the user/student/prospect/customer congregation for not trying hard, for being too stupid lazy to get it, or for not caring stepping up enough to pay attention. It might even be tempting to blame those in your tribe church who aren’t working at hard as following as you are at leading. But none of this is helpful.

Pastor, stop blaming your congregation for your church not living its mission well. Take some responsibility.

While we’re at it…

Congregation, stop blaming your pastor for your church not living its mission well. Take some responsibility.

The reality is, its probably everyone’s fault.  

But you can’t control everyone’s behavior, thoughts and actions.

You can control yours.

Blaming helps no one.  

Taking responsibility and doing something about it helps everyone.