You Can’t Reach the World When All You Have is a Hammer


We need multiple tools to lead a thriving church—including an evangelist.

In 1962, at a banquet for educators at UCLA, celebrated philosopher, Abraham Kaplan, explained his now famous ‘Law of the Instrument’ principle, “Give a small boy a hammer, and he will find that everything he encounters needs pounding.”[1]

In the Church today, we have one single instrument for leadership—the pastor. Search church positions on any of the many job search forums and recruitment sites and you’ll find there is only one tool churches are searching for—pastor. Senior pastors, teaching pastors, executive pastors, worship pastors, children’s, teens, collegiate, campus, in-take, discipleship and volunteers pastors. We seem to think the only kind of leadership we need can only come in one form—pastor.

To be fair, pastors are important and should be instrumental in leading the Church but it was not God’s design for the Church to have but one instrument. Because we only have one tool, every task, goal, obstacle, vision statement, purpose statement, and organizational strategy typically has just one leadership perspective–a pastor’s perspective. When it comes to leadership, the Church in North America is like a small boy with a hammer and because of that, everything looks like it needs pounding. We cannot reach the world with just a hammer, no matter how great that hammer is.

Ephesians 4:11-13 tell us, however, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” …

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