Tea With Drucker

A few years ago I had some tea with business guru Peter Drucker.

I was invited to attend a small, gathering for pastors of large churches. This was a round table discussion stretched over a few days in the Los Angeles area. I knew a few of the other leaders who were to be present but the speaker list was kept confidential. It was a bit like buying a mystery grab bag at a fair. I didn’t fully know what I was in for until I got there.

Upon arriving I was taken back by the main “speaker”—he was more of a relaxed, sit-in-a-chair-and-chat kind of a guy. It was none other than the almost 100-year old dean of American business management, Peter Drucker. I had read a number of his books over the years so meeting him was an amazing thrill. I was taken back by his wit and mental acuity. He was a little hard of hearing, but mentally he outshined everyone one of the rather sharp leaders present.

Drucker had apparently studied this group of church planters turned mega church pastors. He knew many of our names. He was familiar with our specific churches.  He was acutely familiar with the leadership challenges we were facing. His comments were incredibly helpful. I found myself typing his every word onto my laptop as fast as I could.

At one point he was sitting quietly with a cup of tea and he said, “Steve, have a seat!” I was amazed that he knew my name—no nametags present! Another leader sat down as well. He waxed philosophical for a bit as he sipped his drink. With his noticeable Austrian accent he said, “You know Steve, over the years I have made a career out of studying the most challenging management roles out there. After all of that I am now convinced the two most difficult jobs in the world are these—one, to be President of the United States, and two, to be the leader a church like yours and Rick’s (Warren) – where you start it then lead it to serve others in greatness. This week, after spending some quality time with you all, I am convinced of this—the most difficult job is being one of those kinds of pastors.”

“The most difficult job is being one of those kinds of pastors.”

Peter Drucker died not long after that. I will always count that conversation as one of the most significant ones of my life. He was exactly right in his assessment. What I do—what you do—is the most difficult job in the world. Be encouraged! The great Good News is that God’s limitless presence is upon us in power and wisdom for the journey.