Warning: If Your Brand is You

Here’s a principle you need to understand in leading a church, team or organization.

I see many church planters, pastors, and other leaders who build their organization closely around their own identity. They brand the church or the organization, very closely associated with their personality.

When you think of the church…you can’t help but think of them.

In fact, you may think of them even more than you do the church.

It has their flavor, their culture, their stamp. That happens naturally in leadership. It’s unavoidable to an extent. People like to follow a leader. People follow a person. But, these leaders seem to do so purposefully.

I’m not saying that’s wrong. It is certainly one option. I even encourage personal branding in this post. And it often works.

(Unless, of course, it’s done out of arrogance or in the case of the church it’s done at the exclusion of the real brand of a church…Jesus!)

But here is the warning…

If you brand something around you….

It will be harder to hand off should you ever or when you ever need to.

You can build a brand around your name, your personality, your particular flavor…

You can probably be successful at it…maybe even more successful at it.

The problem is that when you build around yourself…when you don’t give others a seat at the table of leadership…when you don’t let others share the “brand”…

…and then you leave.

What happens to the brand?

It often leaves with the one it was branded upon. Then others have to build a new brand.

Makes sense, right?

I’m not saying it’s impossible to brand around a person…lots of organizations have…some continue to be successful…it’s just more difficult. Take this blog for example. Who else wants the brand, right?

If you want the vision to last long after you are gone…

Build your brand around a vision that is bigger than you….known for more than just your name.

Read more from Ron here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ron Edmondson

Ron Edmondson

As pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church a church leader and the planter of two churches, I am passionate about planting churches, but also helping established churches thrive. I thrive on assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. My specialty is organizational leadership, so in addition to my role as a pastor, as I have time, I consult with church and ministry leaders. (For more information about these services, click HERE.)

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comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

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