The man who Jack Welch called “the greatest management thinker of the last century” died last year.

I met Peter Drucker once. We sat across a table at a dinner in California. He was very deaf and could hardly hear a word I said. But he did hear me ask whether there was a common thread in his many varied careers – journalist, diplomat, teacher, consultant.

“Of course,” he came back immediately. “At the heart of everything I have done has been the thought of enabling others, getting the roadblocks out of the way … to enable them to become all that they can be.”

That came back to me this week when I read an article in Fortune telling of Drucker’s influence, and how in later years he gave himself to helping church and non-profit leaders. His admonition to pastor Rick Warren are fascinating … and sobering:

“The function of management in a church is to make the church more church-like,
not more business-like. It’s to allow you to do what your mission is.”

Drucker might say a big “Amen” to Moonjang Lee, newly appointed professor of missions at Gordon Conwell Seminary. Lee believes that the challenge for missions in Asia is “that Christian mission is not fully religious”! He writes:

Not many of foreign missionaries are perceived as religious or spiritual masters as
local people understand such figures in their own religious traditions. The most
immediate task for Christian mission in the 21st century would probably be the
rediscovery of the religious nature of Christian involvement. If the local people are
seen to be more religious than the Christian missionaries, it will not be easy to
impress and attract them to Christianity … Christian mission may not be sustained
unless Christianity becomes fully Christian.

Many of us have listened to Peter Drucker tell us how to be better managers.

Perhaps he would most want us to learn to be better Christians!

Leighton Ford,

January 2006

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