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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Learning

About 1984 I picked up the book In Search of Excellence, other than opening the Bible for the first time no other book has altered the trajectory of my life as much.  I found in those pages passion, purpose, ideas, and a way of thinking that was immediately applicable to my Christian ministry.  What?  A business book that is applicable to ministry?  Yep.
Is there anything believers can learn from non-believers?
For three of the four years I was at Dallas Seminary I was either enrolled in or else grading Dr. Hendricks’ class on leadership.  Each year he emphasized that the best research and leadership material existed in the business literature.  At his prompting I began to read Harvard Business Review and Sloan Management Review.  Not every issue applied, but from time to time there were articles there that were pure gold.  I have since then read extensively in the business literature.  You may know this, Peter Drucker, who is regarded by most as the dean of American business, studied canon law and applied that study of the Catholic church in his practice.  His books have a depth and breadth that are breathtaking.

The Church is not a business in the sense that those who write about business think of the term.  We do no, or rather should not, measure success in ministry on a balance sheet.  But the Church, like a business, is a community of people who are working, or should be working, toward a common goal.  It is at that intersection that we have much to learn from what the business community has discovered.

That was reinforced by Dr. Hendricks’ class and by my experience with Christian organizations before and since.  While the Bible is our primary source, there is much to be learned from the work that has been done in the business community.  Especially when we filter what we learn there through a Biblical lens.

As I have said elsewhere in this blog truth is truth and has its ultimate source in God no matter where it is found.

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