Church Relevance posted an interesting article last week called “A Toolbox With All Hammers.”
“In the big picture, a toolbox with all hammers isn’t very effective. You can hit nails, pry, and not much more. A good toolbox has hammers, wrenches, files, and screwdrivers. It has a drill, some pliers, and plenty of other tools.
So why do so many churches try to be a hammer?”
The analogy is used to describe many modern churches in their attempts to be like and become the Megachurch. Kent reflects on the body having many parts (1 Corinthians 12), and encourages study of all kinds of churches, with application to be applied in the context of your church’s own unique calling.
It seems to me he’s rightly identifying an issue that highlights something connected. Because if becoming a megachurch is the end, then Leadership is the means. To continue the analogy, if your toolbox only contains hammers, then you don’t need electricians and plumbers and cement-mixers. You only need hammer-ers.
Hence, the church’s obsession with leadership. Leaders of influence, leaders of vision and direction who know how to maximize potential and get the “right people” on the team going in the “right direction.” We exclusively focus on demonstrated growth in influence and leadership as part of our ministry plan – ignoring all the other gifts God put in the toolbox. In fact, I’ve worked at more than one megachurch, and have sadly seen incredibly talented, generous, servant-hearted leaders “let go” because they “weren’t on the same page,” or weren’t “team players.”
I believe one day God is going to look at some of these “influential leaders” and ask, “What did you do with the other resources I gave you? Where are all the pliers, wrenches and t-squares, nuts, bolts, screwdrivers, rubber bands, scissors, shovels, crayons and those fuzzy pipe-cleaners!?” Good luck trying to explain why you didn’t think they were the right tools for your job.
I’ve said it before. All of us in the church – gifted as teachers, leaders, servers, encouragers, the merciful – work together equally to bring people to Christ. Leaders organize and strategize, teachers disciple, servers meet needs. In this way, we all use our unique gifts together, and we fully demonstrate living as the body of Christ. And we then become the exact kind of church God intends for us, in whatever community he’s placed us.