Alright, let's do this. For fun I thought it would be interesting to try to refute John Maxwell's "Irrefutable Laws of Leadership", so I'm going to post them here and invite you to help me out.
The original reason why I thought this might be a useful (or at least cathartic) exercise is because I am so repelled by:
1) Books that sell themselves as the secret to success,
2) especially those on "Christian" bookstore shelves,
3) and especially when they claim to be based somehow on biblical principles (as if the Bible was written so we could then distill it into irrefutable laws, ripe for the easy application),
4) and especially when they get picked up and used so easily by Christian leaders as if there is almost a one-to-one relationship between pastoral leadership and business-world leadership.
I think this book, now 10 years old, qualifies in every area. Is this to say that it doesn't have good things to say? No. I think these are probably really good laws for business leaders to mind, and some, perhaps many, of them are probably really good for church leaders to mind as well. In fact, I probably agree with many of them.
But irrefutable? C'mon. Its like you are daring us to refute them.
To be fair, I don't know if John Maxwell sees these as irrefutable for church leadership or business leadership or both. I don't particularly care to discuss their relevance for the business world. I'm interested in refuting them as principles which carry over to the church world, especially in an "irrefutable" way.
Whether Maxwell meant them that way or not, he allowed the publicists to sell it with the recommendations of famous pastors such as Jack Hayford, who praises its "fidelity to our Creator's timeless success principles", or Bible College president Samuel Chand, who recommends its "eternal laws" to the world.
Timeless success principles? Seriously, these people are daring us to blog about this. I've sat in too many conferences where statements like this, presuppositions and all, are thrown out and accepted without much theological questioning.
So I hereby initiate a bit of satire. Satire allows us to explore and joke about the thing tongue in cheek, half-meaning what we say, and half just "throwing it out there". So join me. Could be fun. Let's be fair to the author, of course. Let's not create 21 new irrefutible "anti-laws" either.
I just want to see how these stand up to testing, particularly as it concerns church leadership. So here we go. I'll post the 21 laws, and then open it up to comments. If you want to "refute" one, or even just question its presuppositions (implied or otherwise), just cut and paste it into your comment and go from there. I'll put them all up and then try to weed my way through them for the next week or so. If we could "refute" all 21 for the church, that would be awesome!
1. Leadership Ability Determines a Person's Level of Effectiveness
2. The True Measure of Leadership Is Influence---Nothing More, Nothing Less
3. Leadership Develops Daily, Not in a Day
4. Anyone Can Steer the Ship, But It Takes a Leader to Chart the Course
5. When the Real Leader Speaks, People Listen
6. Trust is the Foundation of Leadership
7. People Naturally Follow Leaders Stronger Than Themselves
8. Leaders Evaluate Everything With A Leadership Bias
9. Who You Are Is Who You Attract
10. Leaders Touch A Heart Before They Ask For A Hand
11. A Leader's Potential Is Determined By Those Closest To Him
12. Only Secure Leaders Give Power to Others
13. It Takes A Leader to Raise Up A Leader
14. People Buy Into the Leaders, Then the Vision
15. Leaders Find a Way for the Team to Win
16. Momentum Is A Leader's Best Friend
17. Leaders Understand That Activity Is Not Necessarily Accomplishment
18. A Leader Must Give Up to Go Up
19. When to Lead Is As Important As What To Do and Where To Go
20. To Add Growth, Lead Followers---To Multiply, Lead Leaders
21. A Leader's Lasting Value is Measured by Succession
Some will be more difficult than others to refute. But pick your favourite and have at it! My hope is for some humour, perhaps in the end some affirmation of a few things, and ultimately some deeper thought of the ideas involved as they regard the church and its leaders.