The Church and Healthy Leadership

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In doing research for a paper on the mission of God and the marketplace, I came across Patrick Lencioni’s works on organizational health and management.

He’s been consulting with companies for years and recently, he’s been working with parishes (he’s deeply committed Catholic Christian).

In this short interview, he explains how church staff and leadership are the primary agents of health in the parish.

He says,

“They have to learn how to trust each other, argue well, make commitments, hold each other accountable, and focus on getting results for God. When they settle for mediocrity, it’s so sad, and that idea of settling for mediocrity because ‘it’s just church stuff so it’s good enough’ has often pervaded our Church.”

Patrick Lencioni

Like companies, the Church has a mission. But its mission has deeper implications than a company (not that it’s “better” than a company). So it requires deeper vulnerability, courage, resilience. Deeper accountability to one another and the work. A deeper commitment to practice leadership health and stay focused on the mission of God…to the world renewed by the love of God. that’s the aim. That’s the focus!!!

The Gospel is a Public Truth

The dualism of private/public, personal/professional is being unraveled in me and around me.

The fragmentation and disembodied faith that is birthed under this dualism is the cause for much of the broken policy and polity we are seeing.

The Gospel healed me (and continues to) but it also CHALLENGES me to think of my life as a holistic embodiment of its core truth that touches ALL OF MY LIFE. Everything that happens in public, private, political, priestly, personal, professional.

Why do this matter?

  • Because we carry on our days thinking that what happens privately won’t have public ramifications and vice versa.
  • Because we think that politics is OUT THERE and priestly work is IN HERE.
  • Because we think we can have two lives, one outcome.

The gospel is a public truth, a secular announcement. The Church is a primary vehicle and it shapes and forms the imagination of the Christ follower when it gathers. But the full circle is completed when the Christ follower is scattered, sent into public, civic life. The Gospel offers a grounding for the current social constructs we have that feel ungrounded.


Michael Goheen, a Newbigin “nerd” (in a great way that I need) says,

“The gospel makes a remarkable and bold claim: the goal of universal history—and therefore the purpose and meaning of the whole creation—has been disclosed, accomplished, and made present in the life, death, and resurrection of one Jewish man in the middle of history. This is surely not an announcement to be slotted into a private category called “religion.” Rather, it is a “secular announcement” and “public truth”: it is a message of ultimate importance for all people.”

Goheen, Michael W.. The Church and Its Vocation: Lesslie Newbigin’s Missionary Ecclesiology

The Lord’s Prayer: OUR and US

 A friend of mine reminded me the other day how communal the Lords prayer is. It is filled with the words “Our” and “Us”.

We know that the Spirit of God is at work when there are more signs of community, mutual understanding, and a turning towards God and one another in peace. 

This echoes of the prayer of Jesus in John 17 that “we might be one”. 

One doesn’t mean uniformity. 

One doesn’t mean we agree. 

To live out the Lord’s Prayer is about attending to our spiritual lives and worldly, embodied realities.  It means that we seek to become people who follow Christ with our words, actions, and attitudes. 

Sadly, we are so polarized in our country and filled with a sense of contempt for the “other side”.  

But since we are children of the Light, we keep seeking a deep and abiding intimacy with Jesus.

In the small town of Guadalupe, California, photographer, Lindsey Ross, took photos of women from the area and installed this mural on the side of a historic building. For more information, see: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/article179168756.html

This might look something like this:

  1. Lamenting. This is about sharing our grief, losses, and brokenness. Think Psalm 51 and moments of the prophets crying out for justice and God’s redemption. Crying out over our sins and blindness.
  2. Seeking justice for those who are marginalized and oppressed. Let’s be honest. When we look at one another, we DO see color. This might conjure up certain prejudicial narratives about one another.
  3. Repenting of our prejudicial narratives.
  4. Going local and small. This one is something I keep inching towards. Focus on building relationships in the neighborhood and city you reside in will have longer lasting impact.
  5. Spiritual formation and self-awareness. This one to me is a LONG TERM project. Learning to name our emotions, needs, judgments, thoughts, motives! This one is probably the toughest of all. But this helps us learn to be with others and truly “sense” their needs, even when their rhetoric is hostile and judgmental.
  6. Committing to daily spiritual disciplines and worship that brings us near the heart of Jesus (intimacy with the One true King and Lord), keeps us honest, and keeps us connected to others (who are different than us).

Someone like me who supports people with a wide range of beliefs can say #blacklivesmatter as part of my spirituality and still stay connected to those who would rebut this statement. If they choose not to connect, my heart and prayer is still John 17 and the Lord’s Prayer because, ultimately, the work of the Spirit is for the person and I to be one and in community. That’s the work of Christ that I’m submitting to.

Lord, make us one by the power of your Holy Spirit. We cry out and grieve the hostility and polarization our country is experiencing. We ask for your mercy upon us. We ask it for our children!! Be merciful and come to our assurance.

With great love, tenderness, and compassion…

Practicing Becoming Like Jesus in the Workplace

Being in the marketplace is a gift to see how God is shaping and working who you and I are becoming. Most of our becoming is happening in the daily grind.

Our mindset and resolve to be like Jesus requires desire and duty. Desire is birthed out of our intimacy with Jesus. Duty is sustained by grace.

One practice that is helping me stay focused on who I am becoming is to pray in the morning, midday, and afternoon. I was eating lunch with a group of employee friends and someone made a comment about the scripture I was reading. We ended up talking about how we eat three times a day and I responded by saying that humans don’t live by bread alone, but by the very words of God.

Here’s an excerpt from a book of prayers that I read each day:

“Lord, my God, King of heaven and of earth, for this day please direct and sanctify, set right and govern my heart and my body, my sentiments, my words and my actions in conformity with Your law and Your commandments. Thus I shall be able to attain salvation and deliverance, in time and in eternity, by Your help, O Savior of the world, who lives and reigns forever. Amen.”

Tickle, Phyllis. The Divine Hours (Volume Two): Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime (p. 75). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
link: amazon

By midday, some of us are wondering who is really Lord. Is it my manager, the company owner, the stock market? Whose really in charge? Can I, in the middle of my work day, say, “Lord, MY God and King”. Imagine what that prayer does to our hearts and minds you just got into a conflict with a coworker or your project isn’t flowing you planned it.

These written prayers, inspired by the Psalms and the Bible, help give me language to pray. They also fill my heart and imagination to see how God is at work in my life.

If you haven’t heard, God cares about the workplace, the tasks, and the people. In fact, God longs to redeem and renew each aspect of the workplace.

I’m glad you went to church on Sunday. But it’s Monday and the worshipful response now starts. It starts with simple prayers, meditation, listening, and being mindful of God’s presence shaping and forming you to become like Jesus.