Discipline! Discipline! Discipline! This is what I walk away with after reading Jim Collins’ book Good to Great as well as Good to Great and the Social Sectors. Without discipline we can probably do some good things, but it is discipline that will give us that boost from just an average person, or average worker to someone that is a great person, a great leader and ultimately someone that will make a long-term impact.
Collins says that great people are disciplined people, who have disciplined thoughts, and take disciplined action. In a culture that does not value discipline, Collins seems to be going counter culture.
Good to Great and the Social Sectors ends with the following sentence, “Great organizations keep clear the difference between their core values (which never change) and operating strategies and cultural practices (which endlessly adapt to a changing world). (35) It struck me, because this is what I see as one of the greatest struggles for us a church. We are having a hard time holding core values and a changing world in tension. We’re quick to give in, or we hold on to certain values so tightly that they hinder growth and influence. We must be wise when it comes to the things that are non-negotiable. I am of the opinion that there are a handful of things in our Christian faith that are non-negotiable. These are the pillars of our faith… everything ales are details… and details or preference should not tare us apart.
Let me share a story. Early last week I was asked to do something that I didn’t want to do. It’s silly really! The pastoral staff had to sing a song in front of the congregation and I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to do it for a couple of reasons…. First, I’m tone deaf. I can’t sing! Second, I didn’t understand why this had to happen… why did we have to sing? The only explanation was tradition, and that wasn’t good enough for me. So, I was ready to pick a fight, but in that moment I realized that I held the power. See, I have the power to say no. I have the power to fight against culture and go against the grain. In that moment my job did not depend on my choice. I can stand for what I want without compromises. In that moment I could walk away and not be afraid. I had the power. But next to me stood a man whose power was stripped away. He didn’t have the power to say no… his job depended on it. He must submit to the authority of culture and expectation. He gave his freedom away in the beginning and taking it back will cost him everything. It costs me nothing to keep mine… it costs me nothing to compromise a bit because I have my freedom. Collins says that “True leadership only exists if people follow when they have the freedom not to.” (13) This is true! When I realized that I really did have choice, and I chose to submit, I didn’t do it because it was my job. I did because it was my responsibility.