This post is part of a series on some of the key aspects of the leadership culture we are seeking to create at The Well. These are the concepts and ideas that we have found help guide us and lead us towards being an adaptive and creative community that is able to push the bounds of what it means to be the church while still having a sense of organization and structure. This series of statements is some of what we’ve learned along the way and is still a work in progress. But, I share them here in the hopes that our experience will help others and also with the hopes of learning from what you have learned along the way as well.

#10 – We must lead with the belief that “the spirit of God is among the people of God” and not just the leadership team.

Far too often leaders and leadership teams believe that the congregation is dumb and naive. While very few people actually say that, there are those who actually do. Just spend some time at a pastor’s conference where the majority of the pastors are frustrated with the state of their churches. Most of the conversation is about how the “people” don’t “get it” and how they are stuck in the mud and the leader can’t do anything because the congregation is always holding them back. I would suggest that, while this is partially true because of the fallen nature of all of humanity (even the leader!), what is really happening here is that the pastor / leadership team have their own agenda for what God is calling the people to and they are not doing the work of hearing how the Spirit is moving and active among the people.

We find ways to constantly have an ear to the ground and listen to the voice of the community as a whole to see how the winds of the Spirit are blowing among the people. This is a complex task in our setting because of the disconnected nature of our community so we must go out of our way to listen to the stories and hearts of our people. In doing this, we cannot only listen to the loudest voices, we must work hard to hear the voices of the introverts and those on the fringes of the church.

#11 – We cannot not forget that the community (and leadership) is made of fallen people.

As we listen to the spirit of God among the people of God (in the context of the community as well as the leadership) we must constantly be questioning our assumptions about what is right and wrong and reasonable. It would be far too easy to capitulate to the culture if we just assumed that we were all successfully hearing from the Holy Spirit at all times.

#12 – We remember that our leadership is not primarily about taking care of the needs of our congregation but more calling the congregation to care for the needs of those outside our group.

We talk all the time about being a church for the sake of others. We must live that out in how we lead and care for the community. We are not here to cater to their consumer needs, rather we are here to help them care for their neighbor.

#13 – We remember that the most effective apologetic to an unbelieving world is a healthy, kingdom living congregation and that pastoral care and healthy relationships is essential to our witness.

While its true that we don’t cater to our people’s consumer needs, we cannot ignore their needs all together. We have to work hard to cultivate a community that is full of healing relationships. Often this will mean that we focus our energy towards the congregation as we focus outwards also.

Read the whole entire series in one spot here.