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Top Posts of 2013 #2: “Why Nice People Kill Churches”

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This post checks in at  #2 in 2013. The post went viral, being re-posted on multiple sites…not just due to the title, but the leadership concept it addresses.

For the last 12 years I’ve had the incredible opportunity to serve on the Sr. Leadership Teams of some of the nations fastest growing and leading churches. Over that time I’ve observed time and time again one of the most destructive inclinations to church growth and the advancement of the Gospel is the simple fact that people on staff at most churches are simply too nice to each other.

5 Ways Nice People Hurt the Mission of the Church

1. Nice people have a tendency to hire people that they like rather than people who are going to advance the mission of the church. In other words it’s okay to lose as long as you’re losing with friends.

2. Nice people avoid conflict and by so doing don’t mine the best ideas out of their teams.

3. Nice people keep people on their teams well after the work has surpassed their capacity. This not only slows the mission but it exposes the weaknesses of and hurts the very person they’re trying to protect.

4. Nice people don’t confront the brutal facts and as a result “hallway conversations” take place and a lack of unity begins to undermine the mission.

5. Nice people sacrifice the flock for the sake of one sheep. This happens every time you let that one person sing who has no business singing (if you’ve been around church-world for any length of time you know exactly what I’m talking about).

Let me be clear, what I’m not saying is that the staff at your church shouldn’t be nice to each other. But when being nice begins to trump being honest because you don’t want to experience the discomfort of a difficult conversation, that’s not nice…that’s selfish. And when that begins to happen everybody loses.

In his new book “The Advantage” Patrick Lencioni says it this way, “Firing someone is not necessarily a sign of accountability, but is often the last act of cowardice for a leader who  doesn’t know how or isn’t willing to hold people accountable.” 

There’s a strong principle and clear message in there that many church leaders need to take some time and wrestle to the ground.


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