Does the Bible Provide Guidance on the “Control” versus “Growth” Question?

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Recently the good folks at ChurchLeaders.com were generous enough to post my article, “Should You Push for Control or Growth”?

In the dialogue that followed one of the thought-provoking comments was made by “Andrew”, who offered this: Define biblical ‘control’ and biblical ‘growth’.  What does the Word of God has to say about it?”

Here are my thoughts in response to this important question…

The Bible has plenty to say not only about leadership in general, but in particular about leading differently depending on the circumstances.

In 1st Chronicles 12, we read how the warriors from each of the tribes of Israel gathered for the coronation of King David.

The chapter describes the particular military skills of each tribe, and you can just imagine how David would have been taking an inventory of the specialized skills each tribe brought to the table.

One of the most distinctive skill sets belonged to the tribe of Issachar, whom we read, “understood the times, and knew what Israel should do.”

The tribe of Issachar knew that times change. And as times change it requires a different leadership focus.

For example, the time of David was a time for growth. Under David’s leadership, the kingdom of Israel experienced unprecedented expansion.

The times were different under his son Solomon. In these times, growth was not to be emphasized.

Similarly, Moses and Joshua led during very different times. Under Moses it was a time for “control”; for staying close to the people and to keeping the Law deeply embedded in the hearts and minds of each of the Children of Israel.

By contrast, Joshua led in a time where expansion was called for. A different time called for a different focus of leadership.

If you wanted to look at New Testament examples, an argument could be made that Jesus’ times were not times for numerical growth. It was a time for “quality control”; for making sure his core group were being well developed.

It was in the later times of Paul, Peter and the other apostles that a leadership focus on growth and expansion was called for.

Much has obviously changed since biblical times. But this much has remained the same.

Leaders must understand the times.

And they must know how to change the focus of their leadership in response.

How has your leadership focus changed during changing times?

the author

Scott Cochrane

Vice President- International, Global Leadership Network. Love Jesus, Nora, Adam & Robin, Amy, Dave, Willow & Olive and John, Fiona & Will. Lifelong learner.

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