Moving Beyond Past Experience to Lead – Nu Leadership Series

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.”
Proverbs 3:7

Many church leaders depend on their experience to assist them in making organizational decisions. However, in the rapid climate of cultural changes, a leader can falter if solely depending on his or her past experiences. Therefore, it is important that today’s religious leaders think strategically. The past can both help and hurt an organizational leader.

The past helps leaders because it gives them a reference point for solving current issues. Therefore, it provides a leader with an arsenal of proven solutions. This strategy works in a predictable environment. Conversely, it also betrays a leader when this isn’t the case. In times of rapid change and uncertainty, a leader’s past knowledge becomes a liability because a leader can make the wrong assumptions. Obviously, this problem can be seen in the rebellious nature of Israel as they exited from Egypt. Moses was constantly bombarded by their grumbling because of their past experiences. God, however, had his own way of solving their problems.

Duality, as a strategic tool, is therefore hard for any organization to accomplish. Wacker, Taylor, and Means, authors of The Visionary’s Handbook, argue that effective organizations must micromanage to stay close to emerging changes; they also admit that the future destabilizes the present. This situation leaves organizational strategists in a quagmire of constant environmental change. Therefore, a religious leader should be open to thinking strategically and should lead God’s people in the best manner possible.


Moore, G. (1991). Crossing the Chasm. New York: HarperBusiness.

Wacker, W., Taylor, J., & Means, H. (2000). The Visionary’s Handbook. New York: HarperBusiness.

© 2006 by Daryl D. Green