On Changing Leaders

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

Our tagline at Fresno Pacific these days focuses on two large concepts: leaders and transformation. Leadership and change are inseparable. You do not need leadership to stay where you are, remain who you are, keep doing what you are doing and get the same results you have been getting. You need leadership to change. A healthy, growing person, like a healthy learning organization, understands that if you want a different future you must do something different to make it happen.

Unhealthy organizations and people ignore reality and cling to the comfort of the present that they know. They keep doing the same things, hoping for different results. Healthy learning organizations are quick to admit when something is not going right and make a corrective change.

Leadership is the process of making that desired change happen, whether that is leadership in your own life or leadership in the life of your organization, your church or your family.

Organizational change involves changing leaders. Most of the time that means the person in the leadership role is learning and changing, and all the followers are part of the process that helps the leader, and the organization, succeed. However, periodically, changing leaders means placing a different person in the leadership role.

In 1944 Fresno Pacific set out on the pilgrimage from being a small denominational Bible institute with fewer than 100 students to becoming an accredited Christ-centered university with 3,700 degree-seeking students throughout the Valley and over 10,000 professional development students all across America. During these 70 years we have had 11 presidencies, including my first try that lasted 12 years. Four of those presidencies lasted two years, including the most recent tenure of President Menjares. The longest was 15 years by Arthur Wiebe who died recently at age 94.

Each president responded to a call from God from a group of God’s people seeking someone to fill the role of presidential leader bringing needed change. Each one was important in the life of Fresno Pacific, and every one of them was flawed and inadequate. The last two days I spent with a group of church and educational leaders from across North America who gathered on our campus to help plan a dramatic new way of preparing future church leaders worldwide. One of those leaders is the senior pastor of a church of over 6,000 in Toronto, Canada. His church will play a major role in the development of this alternative educational model.

At our closing meal we shared personal stories of how God got us into our leadership roles. He recounted trying to convince the Lord that he should not take on the leadership of this church because he was inadequate for the vision. Finally God spoke powerfully and simply to him: I know, but you are the best I’ve got. And the rest of that message is: I have things to teach you.

Remember that truth every time you correct a computer glitch or write a report or step in front of a class or clean a restroom or ask someone to give a million dollars or lift up a confused and fallen student. You are not adequate, but God has put you there because at this point in his kingdom work, you are the best he’s got.

Rich Kriegbaum