Tag Archive: agility

Manziel or Manning Leadership In Church?

football play

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto®

Recently, our church has been in an unprecedented place. We have opportunities we’ve never had before. They’re God-given, but they’re also work – and in this particular instance, God didn’t really give us a heads-up so we could fully implement the work into our usual strategic plan. We’ve had to adapt, and use a different playbook than we’re used to. We’ve had to become like Johnny Manziel.

If you’re not familiar with Johnny Manziel (aka Johnny Football), he was a talented, get-it-done quarterback, known for his unorthodox playing style (and for winning the Heisman Trophy). Although he was undersized, he used his speed well, and was able to score touchdowns by breaking tradition with orthodox quarterbacking plays.

His playing didn’t always look pretty, but he got the touchdown.

Sometimes, your church staff will have to operate this way. You may have to break policies, or bypass typical channels of communication – for the sake of providing more people an opportunity to hear about Jesus.

This playing style isn’t as familiar for our church staff. Historically, our leadership has striven to see what’s coming next, and get prepared through prayer and intense planning. We set our direction, and then guide our volunteers, staff, and budget to achieve that direction. Our planning and mindset is more like quarterback Peyton Manning’s style. We want everyone to know their role in the game – and if by chance God calls us to change direction, we’ll call an audible, “Omaha!”

But this Summer, we’ve had to adjust our methodology. We’ve needed to embrace the atypical position we are in – because it has been obvious, it’s God-given. As a leader, I’ve needed to give permission for our staff to “Manziel it” for a season.

I admit, I’m not wired like Johnny Football. I’m wired more like Peyton Manning. I strive to do my best work in advance, by planning out a path of action, and even making some contingency plans. I do think God is honored by advanced work – but I also think He is honored when we change the way we play, in obedience to Him. When God’s Spirit moves, you follow… regardless of whether it was in your church’s playbook, or not.

It’s often when we’re out of our comfort zone that God is able to show us how powerful He is. As a leader, you need to be comfortable with this idea. For our staff, Manzieling it isn’t sustainable – but with God’s favor, for a season we’ve been asked score our touchdowns in a different way than we’re used to.

There’s a time for your church be like Peyton Manning, and there’s also a time to be like Johnny Manziel. Different styles and strategies, but the same ultimate goal. In the case of your church, and my own, the ultimate goal is that God would accomplish His work, regardless of our timing, planning, or abilities… and that each of our wins are His wins, Kingdom wins.

Continue Reading