The “B” Word & the “S” Word

05 Dec

It is time for Christian leaders to collectively agree to drop two words from our vocabulary – the “B” word and the “S” words. These two words are utterly offensive and they ought to never be uttered from the lips of those who follow Christ. The words are “busy” and “success.”

“Busy” has far too long become an excuse or a cover for something else. A few years ago I was following a devotional guide on the Holy Spirit and as I was reflecting on the delicate art of simplicity. I suddenly realized that I had simply become too busy and that I used my own busyness to make myself feel important. I had deceived myself into thinking that important people are busy people, therefore I need to be busy. So if some asked me how I was doing, I would say, “Busy!” So I determined during that devotional time that I would remove “busy” from my vocabulary. I do slip up from time to time, but I am pressing on towards a “B” word free life.

“Busy” is a bad word. It is a dirty word. Church leaders who make themselves busy are either covering up for a lack of self confidence or they are practicing bad leadership. Christian leaders who live the “B” word often practice poor leadership, because they are trying to do everything themselves. Effective Christian leaders learn to use the “D” word – delegation. To delegate is who we move the church forward. Delegation causes new leaders to rise to the surface. It is not only necessary to accomplish today’s tasks, but it also prepares for the future. It fulfills both management needs (present tasks) and leadership needs (visionary future.)

“Success” is a down-right rotten word. There is no success in church life. The work of the ministry never ends. If we reach a level of “success” in the church, we then have the pressure of maintaining that level of success. Beyond that, new people, new generations will follow these people and this generation. So we never arrive; we never attain. We must constantly be preparing for the future by raising up new leaders and passing our values on to the NEXT generation. We should drop the word “success” from our vocabulary. It reeks with American capitalism and materialistic values. The word “success” when used in the local church is so tied to numbers – bodies (the number of people in worship attendance), bucks (the number of dollars in the church bank accounts), & buildings (the number buildings on the church property).

“Success” is an ugly word. Christian leaders need to discard the “S” and adopt the “F” word – fruitfulness. The Bible speaks of fruitfulness. A tree is fruitful. It produces fruit and it produces seeds, for a new generation of fruitfulness. This is the way forward…fruitfulness not success. Jesus said, “May you bear fruit and may your fruit remain.” Success can be measured in numbers. Fruitfulness is measured through relationship in terms of transformation and character.

I want to be a “D” leader and a “F” leader…a delegator and a fruitful leader!


Posted by on December 5, 2007 in Ministry



4 responses to “The “B” Word & the “S” Word

  1. Nathan

    December 5, 2007 at 9:28 pm

    Andy Stanley talks about leadership that is too busy. He mentions lack of self-confidence, bad leadership to not replicate, and pride. Good stuff.

    Craig Groeschel talks about being so busy you “sacrifice family at the altar of ministry.” He has wife/six kids and is home by 5:15, 6 days a week! He has a church of thousands!

  2. Anonymous

    December 13, 2007 at 3:36 am

    Hey there Pastor Derek, This is Fred F. I have not been around lately, But I just had to say something about your latestest posting.I do agree with the B word But not the S word. God says agels sing and go crazy when a soul is saved or even when a christain who has fallen from grace is returned to the grace of our Lord. Even when A person gives their life for another. These may be fruitful as you say, but I beleive them to be successes first! Let us not forget that our Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to go forth into all nations and spread the word to save people, and each one that is save is a success for HIM, as he commanded, certainly not for us.

  3. Robin

    December 22, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    Hello Pastor Derek!
    This is Robin Sam from India. My wife and I run an evangelical newspaper called ‘The Christian Messenger’. We would like to reproduce your blog on ‘The B word and the S word’ with due credit in our January issue of the newspaper. If it’s alright with you, can you please send us a go-ahead on that?
    With thanks and prayers!

  4. Derek Vreeland

    December 22, 2007 at 11:37 pm


    Feel free to print my post in your newspaper. I love India and I am happy to help the church there.
    You can read a post from my last trip to India here:




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