Monday, December 31, 2007


A few years ago, when it began to be clear that CTK was shaping up differently than any church I'd ever seen before, I was moaning in my office about how I didn't have mentors to show me the way. "I can't think of any other church that is behaving like we are - one church in multiple locations!" A wise staff person (can't remember who it was, actually) said, "Well, aren't we basically doing what Paul did in the New Testament?" (rim shot followed by dead silence here)

I went home that afternoon and got out my Bible and started reading Acts and the Epistles of Paul with new eyes. What if what Paul was doing back then was actually planting one church, the church of Jesus Christ, in multiple locations? Previously, I had always viewed Paul's ministry through a western-independent-church-planting lens (that Paul was planting multiple, separate churches). Now I started to see Paul's ministry through an eastern-interdependent-relationship-expansion lens (that Paul was adding nodes to a network in an ever-expanding circle of relationships), and the world looked very different to me. But the new lenses also explained a lot to me. Why was it that believers in Macedonia sent funds to believers in Jerusalem? Maybe because they were all part of the same story. Why is it that Paul is writing letters and still exerting influence in various congregations long after he's been gone? Maybe because they are all part of the same story. Why is it that a council is convening in Jerusalem and sending a theological statement to believers in Antioch? Maybe because they were all part of the same story. Why is it that the church in various cities is referenced in the singular, "church" instead of "churches"? Maybe because they are all part of the same story. Maybe there's really only one church in the first century, and it meets in various places.

I say "maybe" because we should always let our dogmatism rise and fall with the clarify found in scripture. Church organization is one of the areas where there is less clarity than we might like. The lack of clarity has given rise to many different church organization models, all of which can in some way find validation from scripture. But I have to say, as I have looked at the scriptures, the "apostolic organizational model" is better than any I've seen to describe what was actually happening in the early church. It appears to me that the early church was one church that convened cellularly and congregationally in a variety of locations. It was a network tied together by meaningful relationships and meaningful responsibilities.

The first few chapters of Acts tell us that within a few weeks well over 10,000 people had come to Christ and that more people were being added "every day." So the church in Jerusalem went from 120 to over 10,000 in one week! Three times in Acts a reference is made to the church in Jerusalem, and each time it is referred to in the singular. Acts 8:1: "There arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem." Acts 11:22: "The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch." Acts 15:4, Luke describes Paul and Barnabas' return to Jerusalem: "When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders." There is reference to multiple leaders, but not multiple congregations. So what we have in Jerusalem is one church with at least 10,000 adherents, lead by a team of apostles and elders.

Because of its size it is unlikely that the Jerusalem church gathered as one large group. There was simply no facility that could hold them. Acts 2 tells us they were meeting to hear the Apostles' teaching daily "house to house and in the temple courts." The church appears to be convening in multiple, smaller meetings, with multiple teachers. This would mean that every day some portion of the group was meeting, but not the entire group. At the same time there appears to be some system-wide solutions that were provided, for meeting the special needs of particular groups (Acts 6), and for theological direction (Acts 15). While Jerusalem was the epicenter, the rings of the church continued out as predicted from Jerusalem, to Judea, to Samaria, to the uttermost parts of the earth. The expansion was facilitated by apostolic missions, Christians transferring from one region to another (often because of persecution) and circular letters.

Compared with the western church of the past couple centuries, CTK's organization appears unconventional. But it actually resonates with the story of the first century church that we read in the bible. I guess we have somewhere to go for guidance after all!


An expectation for a staff person at CTK is "that you will be growth oriented and plan on serving twice as many people as your presently do. Organize with growth in mind. Plan for the future." This statement is included in the "General Expectations" section of our job descriptions. This expectation implies:

1. That we are pulled by vision, instead of pushed by need. We start behaving like a church of 100 when we are a church of 50, like a church of 1000 when we are 500. This proactivity positions the ministry toward the future and keeps us from accepting the status quo, or getting stuck in a rut. An exercise that every pastor should engage in regularly is to take out a piece of paper and write at the top "My ministry at double the size." Then start to bullet out what that would look like. Would it require an additional service? Additional staff? Reorganization? A different meeting place? Once you know what it would look like you have ideas about what it will take to get there from here.

2. That we plan for growth before it happens. The time to plan for the next wave of people is before they come, not after they've come. If you don't have the classes, teachers, parking or seats to double, you won't probably need to worry about it. The 80% rule has said that a room feels "full" at 80%, but my experience is that the pressure will build in the parking lot or bathrooms long before that. By thinking "double" you can get ahead of the growth curve (and the challenges that always attend growth).

3. The next horizon is always clearly before us: doubling. A key question to always be asking is “How can I serve twice as many people as I presently do in the coming year?” Start by assessing your current ministry. For instance, if you currently have responsibility for a worship center that has an attendance of 75 people, the next horizon would be 150. Would serving 150 people require a second service? Start now to plan for that second service, and take some first steps. If you serve in a clerical role and create 10 documents a week, how could you get to 20? Could you recruit a volunteer? Could you standardize some processes? What are your first steps? Identify the key areas you oversee and come up with a plan and first steps toward doubling.

The story that Jesus told of the talents implied doubling as an expectation: The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.” (Matthew 25:20) Results certainly may vary from the story. We plant and water, and God gives the increase. But in our planning and preparation, we should be getting ready for a 100% return on investment.


The General Expectations section of the job description was something that I wrote over the years to describe some of the things that I hope to see from everyone in the CTK story, regardless of job title. When expectations are "general" there is a tendency to think they are "unimportant." In actuality, I consider these to be some of the most important things we could expect from each other:

That you will maintain a growing relationship with God. 10+10. Read. Meditate. Pray. Share.

That you will be highly committed to the mission of CTK. Willing to sacrifice for it. Willing to endure hardship for the cause of Christ.

That you will develop open, honest, protective, and supportive relationships with other team members. Talk with colleagues, not about them. Clear the air. Be positive. Work through problems.

That you will be confidential about sensitive matters. Don’t share confidences. No gossip. No talking with people who are not part of the problem or the solution.

That you will take responsibility for your area of ministry. Own it. Have a vision for it. Develop it. Take initiative. Take care of it.

That you will be personally organized to keep track of important dates, phone numbers, assignments and instructions. Have a day timer. Set up a filing system.

That you will strive for excellence in everything you do. Pay attention to details. Ongoing improvement.

That you will be growth oriented and plan on serving twice as many people as your presently do. Organize with growth in mind. Plan for the future.

That you will limit your span of care to not more than five to seven people for yourself and those you supervise. Develop leaders. Redistribute the work. Keep it manageable. Break it down.

That you will promptly follow-up on contacts with 48 hours. Assignments from Sunday morning completed by Tuesday morning.

That you will develop systems that give people clear ownership of the ministry. Schedules. Job descriptions. Procedures. Phone #s. Team leaders. Team rosters. Team meetings. Organizational charts.

That you will recruit people for your area, with strong leaders and administrators being placed in strategic places. Identify, recruit, deploy, train, and support volunteers.

That you will create redundancy in your area of ministry. Supervisors, emerging leaders in place to easily substitute. At least two people who know every job and are empowered to carry it out.

That you will think ahead and anticipate concerns and areas of need before they become a crisis. Know what the problems are. Address them. Be proactive.

That you will help to create and maintain a positive working environment for the people who serve under you. High morale. Lots of encouragement. Thanks for a job well done.

That you will promote your ministry area to the rest of the church. Newsletter articles, classified ads, program announcements, word of mouth.

That you will innovate and take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. Take us to places we’ve never been before.

That you will communicate weekly with your supervisor and report areas of concern, success, progress. Notify about absences, vacation time, etc.

Friday, December 21, 2007


After I teach I often ask if there are any questions or comments. I like the immediate feedback, and the questions steer me toward future topics. When I had a time of Q&A after a pastors meeting in India, however, I was reminded of how vital humility is, whenever we are in a position to supposedly have "the answers." At the conclusion of this pastor's conference there were questions about how to reach lost people more effectively, how to deal with false teachers - the typical sorts of things that pastors are concerned about. I answered them the best that I could. But not nearly as well as Yedidya Parker did when he got up after me (Yedidya is CTK's Lead Pastor in India). Yedidya said to the pastors "You are the pastors. You are the leaders. You need to look to God for guidance. God did not place Dave where He placed you. God did not place me where He placed you. He placed you there. You are the leader there. So you need to go to God for the answers you need. But if you get in trouble, CTK does have a call center. Write down this number. The number of the call center is Jeremiah 33:3 - 'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'" Then Yedidya sat down. Isn't that awesome! I love that.

I'm reminded of the words to the hymn "What a friend we have in Jesus." There's a line in that song that goes like this: "Oh the peace we often forfeit, oh the needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer." We are "blessed" to have many books written by "experts" on "how" to lead the church. It is great to have mentors and colleagues to help along the way. But don't let anyone or anthing distract you from getting on your knees, and finding the answers you need from God. Every now and then it does us good to put the books back on the shelf and get ahold of heaven. Really, some of the greatest joys I've had have been times when I have been stuck and God has wonderfully helped me. Nothing beats the joy of calling on God and having Him pick up the line and answer!

As leaders we are sometimes viewed to have "answers." But the only real answer we have is "Jesus." This is why Paul said, "I preach Christ crucified." Paul said, "I don't know about anything except Jesus." As a leader, the best answer you can give is to point others back to Christ. It actually is a relief to not have to be "the Bible answer man" and to let people find their own answers direct from The Source. Jesus, after all, is The Truth, as well as The Way and The Life.


The longest way around is often the shortest way home. Sometimes a leader needs to take a more indirect approach, particularly with delicate or emotional issues. Directness and honesty may give you a feeling of relief, but they also stir up antagonism. You have to ask yourself, "What is the point of being direct, if it has the result of causing others to become more entrenched in their own ideas?" Military leaders have long understand that a frontal attack may be the least successful of all approaches, because it causes the enemy to "dig in." Julius Ceasar even said "a new way of conquering (is) to strengthen one's position by kindness and generosity." The flank is the path to power. In church leadership, as well, almost every obstacle can be overcome if approached from the right angle and the proper disposition.

In his book Stragegy, B.H. Liddell Hart expands on the power of the indirect approach:

"When, in the course of studying a long series of military campaigns, I first came to perceive the superiority of the indirect over the direct approach, I was looking merely for light upon strategy. With deepened reflection, however, I began to realize that the indirect approach had a much wider application - that it was a law of life in all spheres: a truth of philosophy. Its fulfillment was seen to be the key to practical achievement in dealing with any problem where the human factor predominates, and a conflict of wills tends to spring from an underlying concern for all interests. In all such cases, the direct assault of new ideas provokes stubborn resistance, thus intensifying the difficulty of producing a change of outlook. Conversion is achieved more easily and rapidly by unsuspected infiltration of a different idea or by an argument that turns the flank of instinctive opposition. The indirect approach is as fundamental to the realm of politics as to the realm of sex. In commerce, the suggestion that there is a bargain to be secured is far more important than any direct appeal to buy. And in any sphere, it is proverbial that the surest way of gaining a superior's acceptance of a new idea is to weaken resistance before attempting to overcome it; and the effect is best attained by drawing the other party out of his defenses."

I wish every Christian leader would study Hart's words carefully. There is truth here that will save us all a lot of ammo in battle, and make for a much happier experience for our followers, as well as us. There is one pastor (not at CTK) that I've watched over the last few years, who I don't believe has learned this principle. He is a bulldog in his approach to most issues. He is very direct in what he says and how he says it. He is left scratching his head as people eventually pull away from him, but I believe he creates a "fight or flight" climate in his ministry. I believe his ministry would be around 200 people right now if he would use more indirection in his approach. Instead it is around 50. It is difficult for someone who is very direct to see how an indirect approach could be better. The direct approach seems on the surface to be more moral and honest. But I would suggest that the truth of indirection is best modeled in Jesus. He was full of truth. But he was also full of grace. The grace caused him to approach issues indirectly through riddle, humor, kindness and generosity. He was even downright cryptic in some of his dealings (writing on the ground, answering a question with a question, etc.). I think we have a lot to learn here.


When you are a follower of Christ, you give up your rights to embrace your responsibilities. One of the rights we give up is the "right to be right." As Christian leaders who are well-versed in the Bible, this is a particular sacrifice for some of us. Have you put your ego on the altar lately? If not, it might be particularly difficult for you to take the indirect approach, because you'll know too much, and have far too much to say.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Throughout history, churches have added value to people by delivering a combination of three things: Information, Experiences and Relationships. The ratios of these three have varied based on a number of factors (denomination, geography, pastoral style, etc.). But with the dawn of the information age, churches across the board have been going through a time of significant change, shifting away from the primacy of Information toward Experiences and Relationships.

Prior to the invention of the printing press the church was primarily a vehicle for Information. Priests and pastors were clearly needed to read, translate and explain the scriptures to the masses. The church was the center in the community for literacy and knowledge. But times have changed. With the explosion of the information age, people no longer need to come to church to get the Information they need. Just "Google" any passage of scripture and you will be treated to a wealth of sermons and articles at your fingertips. It's not that the church no longer delivers information. It's just that this cannot be the only thing it delivers (unless, that is, you want to go the way of the mainline denominations and die a slow and painful death). This means that we have a couple ways we can go from here if we want to add value: toward Experiences or toward Relationships. Let me discuss these alternatives.

1. Toward Experiences. One way churches have continued to add value to people (post-information-age) is by shifting their focus from information to experiences. I would dare say that 95% of the growing churches in America today have gone this route. Why? Because of the influence of Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago. In the 1980s, as many denominational churches were slipping in attendance, Willow Creek burst onto the scene with a band, actors and video projection. The church service was no longer a dull, boring "information dump." It was a moving experience that you wanted to bring your friends experience.

In the past 25 years thousands of church leaders have made their pilgrimage to South Barrington and been inspired to incorporate the arts into their "experience." Many churches have experienced good results from what they've been able to glean from Willow. Some churches have even begun calling their weekend services "Weekend Experiences." This is an appropriate description considering the shift from the primacy of Information to the primacy of Experience. Not all "Experience Churches" are the same, however. As time has gone on, the Experience path has branched off in various directions:

1a. Experience our Pastor.

When the Experience is about the pastor you might hear people say, "You've got to come and hear our pastor." As an example of this kind of Experience Church I would hold up Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Mark Driscoll, the pastor, is a bright, articulate, sometimes controversial communicator. Listening to Mark preach is an experience. He says some very interesting things in a very interesting way. You may not agree with everything he stands for, but at least he stands for something. I know that some people feel that Mars Hills' growth is a result of its candle-burning vibe (a young, artsy, urban culture), but I respectfully disagree. I believe its growth is a reflection of Mark's vibe. The greatest evidence that I'm right is that Mars Hill projects Mark's teaching at all of its campuses. Yes, they have a cool band, but to a great extent, Mark is the show.

1b. Experience our Programming.

When the experience is about the programming you might hear people say, "You won't believe everything we have going on." As an example of this kind of experience church I would suggest Saddleback Church in Southern California. Rick Warren is their well known pastor, but not because is a such a compelling speaker. It is because Saddleback has put together such a compelling program. Some of their programs are so good, in fact, that they have become industries of their own (40 Days of Purpose, Celebrate Recovery, etc.). When I went on a behind the scenes tour of Saddleback a few years ago I was struck by how excited my guide was about the programs that were happening there. Rick's gifts are many, to be sure, but the one that has created the greatest waves is administration. Yes, they have great teaching and worship, but the programs are the show.

1c. Experience our Passion.

When the experience is about the passion you might hear someone say, "You need to experience our worship." As an example of this kind of experience church I would mention Hillsongs in Australia. In the case of Hillsongs, I actually don't know the pastor's name. But their worship leaders are world-renowned. Their worship experience is unbelievable. Powerful. Worth telling others about. So now leaders are making their pilgrimage to Australia in hopes of importing this passionate worship dynamic to the U.S. In one American location where this model is being replicated they have actually called the ministry "Passion." Yes, they have a dynamic teacher, but to a greater extent, the worship is the show.

1d. Experience our Production.

When the experience is about the production you might hear someone say, "You will be blown away by our service." As an example of this kind of experience church I would reference LifeChurch presents a very potent cocktail of music, video and teaching via satellite to a number of locations. LifeChurch has been recognized as the most innovative church in America (CTK made the list farther down). I have visited their campuses near Oklahoma City and become friends with some of their production team. They truly are bringing a level of creativity that is astounding. Yes, the elements are cool in and of themselves, but it's how it's all put together that is the show.

2. Toward Relationships. A second direction that churches can go is toward Relationships. I call this "the road less travelled." This is the path we are on at CTK. We deliver Relationships. We also deliver Information, and Experiences (and I think we do so pretty well), but what we're trying to get really good at is Relationships. Relationships are primary, and the carrier for Information and Experience. At CTK we have a saying that "Small groups are our plan A and we don't have a plan B." Why are we so high on Relationships? First, because Relationships are simple. You do not need a production crew, or special lighting. You do not need a budget. All you need is love. Second, because Relationships are satisfying. Something rings hollow about the Experience church after awhile. It's like eating your favorite dessert day after day. And third, because Relationships are scalable. We can go as far as relationships will take us. And we're finding that is pretty far.

I believe that the path from Information to Experiences is so well-worn that many have not even considered the existence of "another way to go." This is why CTK's story is so important for the greater church. In eight years CTK has gone from zero to tens of thousands. And here's the best part: there is no end in sight. What if other ministries followed suit?


How do I analyze Lakewood Church, the largest church in America? It is clearly an Experience church, and I would say that it is an amalgamation of the four varieties of Experience church. They have put together in one place the Pastor experience (Joel Osteen is a true celebrity), the Program experience (a huge facility that houses a multitude of ministries), the Passion experience (a worship experience that is as powerful as any), and the Production experience (Joel was actually the producer of the television program prior to becoming pastor). In my way of thinking it is the ultimate expression of this paradigm. I believe that the emergence of Lakewood is an indication that the paradigm has been "wrung out." What's next? What's left. The Relational church.


A strong synonym for leadership is influence. Another suitable substitute is catalyst. But catalytic leadership draws on different tools than the old "command and control" style exemplified by CEOs. Listen in as Ori Brafman describes the catalytic leader:

"A CEO is The Boss. He's in charge, and he occupies the top of the hierarchy. A catalyst interacts with people as a peer. He comes across as your friend. Because CEOs are at the top of the pyramid, they lead by command-and-control. Catalysts, on the other hand, depend on trust. CEOs must be rational; their job is to create shareholder value. Catalysts depend on emotional intelligence; their job is to create personal relationships. CEOs are powerful and directive; they're at the helm. Catalysts are inspirational and collaborative; they talk about ideology and urge people to work together to make the ideology a reality. Having power puts CEOs in the limelight. Catalysts avoid attention and tend to work behind the scenes. CEOs create order and structure; catalysts thrive on ambiguity and apparent chaos. A CEO's job is to maximize profit. A catalyst is usually mission-oriented."

Auren Hoffman, in speaking of catalysts, says, "It does take a certain personality, someone who likes to help people. Lots of people just know a lot of people." A catalyst, on the other hand, is "someone who every time they have a conversation with someone they are actively thinking How can I help this person? Who can I introduce this person to? I just want to help this person. I just want to make this person better. People really, really want to help other people. And that they are the most underutilized tool there is."

Do I hear an "Amen"?


In their book The Starfish and the Spider, Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom contrast the body styles of two organisms that seem to have a lot in common, but don't:

"With a spider, what you see is pretty much what you get. A body's a body, a head's a head, and a leg's a leg. But starfish are very different. the starfish doesn't have a head. Its central body isn't even in charge. In fact, the major organs are replicated throughout each and every arm. If you cut the starfish in half, you'll be in for a surprise: the animal won't die, and pretty soon you'll have two starfish to deal with.

"Starfish have an incredible quality to them: If you cut an arm off, most of these animals grow a new arm. And with some varieties, such as the Linckia, or long-armed starfish, the animal can replicate itself from just a single piece of an arm. You can cut the Linckia into a bunch of pieces, and each one will regenerate into a whole new starfish. They can achieve this magical regeneration because in reality, a starfish is a neural network - basically a network of cells. Instead of having a head, like a spider, the starfish functions as a decentralized network. Get this: for the starfish to move, one of the arms must convince the other arms that it's a good idea to do so. The arm starts moving, and then - in a process that no one fully understands - the other arms cooperate and move as well. The brain doesn't "yea" or "nay." The starfish doesn't have a brain. There is no central command. Biologists are still scratching their heads over how this creature operates, but....the starfish operates a lot like the Nant'ans. If spiders are the Aztecs of the world, starfish are surely the apaches."

As a historical illustration of starfish v. spider, Brafman and Beckman make distinctions between the centralized organization of the Spanish under Cortes, and the decentralized organization of the Apaches under Geronimo:

"A centralized organization is easy to understand. Think of any major company or governmental agency. You have a clear leader who's in charge, and there's a specific place where decisions are made (the boardroom, the corporate headquarters, city hall)....This organization type [is] coercive because the leaders call the shots: when the CEO fires you, you're out. When Cortes ordered his army to march, they marched. The Spanish, Aztecs and Incas were all centralized and coercive. Although it sounds like something out of a Russian gulag, a coercive system is not necessarily bad. Whether you're a Spanish general, an Aztec leader, or a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you use command-and-control to keep order in your organization, to make it efficient, and to function from day to day. Rules need to be set and enforced, or the system collapses. For instance, when you get on an airplane, you had better hope it's a coercive system. You certainly don't want Johnson from seat 28J to decide that right about now is a good time to land. No, Johnson needs to sit quietly and enjoy the movie while the captain - and only the captain - has the authority to make decisions to ensure that the plane flies properly.

"Decentralized systems, on the other hand, are a little trickier to understand. In a decentralized organization, there's no clear leader, no hierarchy, and no headquarters. If and when a leader does emerge, that person has little power over others. The best that person can do to influence people is to lead by example....This [is] an open system, because everyone is entitled to make his or her own decisions. This doesn't mean that a decentralized system is the same as anarchy. There are rules and norms, but they aren't enforced by any one person. Rather, the power is distributed among all the people and across geographical regions. Basically, there's no Tenochtitlan, and no Montezuma.

"But without a Montezuma, how do you lead? Instead of a chief, the Apaches had a Nant'an - a spiritual and cultural leader. The Nant'an lead by example and held no coercive power. Tribe members followed the Nant'an because they wanted to, not because they had to. One of the most famous Nant'ans in history was Geronimo, who defended his people against the American forces for decades. Geronimo never commanded an army. Rather, he himself started fighting, and everyone around him joined in. The idea was, 'If Geronimo is taking arms, maybe it's a good idea. Geronimo has been right in the past, so it makes sense to fight alongside him.' You wanted to follow Geronimo? You followed Geronimo. You didn't want to follow him? Then you didn't. The power lay with each individual - you were free to do what you wanted. The phrase "you should" doesn't even exist in the Apache language. Coercion is a foreign concept.

"The Nant'ans were crucial to the well-being of this open system, but decentralization affects more than just leadership. Because there was no capital and no central command post, Apache decisions were made all over the place. A raid on a Spanish settlement, or example, could be conceived in one place, organized in another, and carried out in yet another. You never knew where the Apaches would be coming from. In one sense, there was no place where important decisions were made, and in another sense, decisions were made by everybody everywhere.

"On first impression, it may sound like the Apaches were loosey-goosey and disorganized. In reality, however, they were an advanced and sophisticated socieity - it's just a decentralized organization is a completely different creature....The traits of a decentralized society - flexibility, shared power, ambiguity - made the Apaches immune to attacks that would have destroyed a centralized society."

At CTK we are attempting to be more like a starfish, than a spider, and more like the Apaches than the Spanish. This requires a leadership style that is more like Geronimo than Cortes.


Organic does not mean "without structure." Organisms characteristically have a very definable skeleton - joints, branches, capillaries, and the like. The body of Christ, likewise, is well-connected and supported. When referring to Christ's body, the Apostle Paul referred to "supporting ligaments" in Ephesians 4, and "ligaments and sinews" (tendons) in Colossians 2. A ligament connects a bone to another bone; a tendon connects a muscle to a bone. I think what Paul was saying is that in the body of Christ there are people who help hold things together.

If you look around in your small group or Worship Center you will undoubtedly spot these folks. They are the ones you think of when you need something done. They are the ones others go to when they need spiritual support. If you have difficulty identifying them when they are there, you will definitely note their absence when they're gone, because things will start "falling apart." In the absence of the "ligaments" people will not seem as connected. Things will not get done.

In an organic network such as CTK we get to see ligaments function at different levels:

1. Pastors and Directors. On a local level, Pastors and Directors give support and connection to leaders. Typically we like to see Directors identified in the areas of Children's Ministries, Youth Ministries, Small Groups, Operations, and Worship.

2. Area Pastors. On a regional level, Area Pastors give support and connection to local pastors.

3. National Pastors. On a national level, a National Pastor gives support and connection to Area Pastors.

Organic does not mean "small." In nature, the big exists to supports the small (exactly opposite of most organizational models, where the small exists to support the big). Bigger bones facilitate smaller ones. Bigger muscles facilitate smaller ones. And the connections are made through the ligaments and tendons.

The previous generation referred to these people as "pillars of the church." What makes a pillar a pillar is that it is able to stand on its own, plus carry some structural weight. Some people have their hands full taking care of their own stuff. A pillar in the church has capacity to take care of others as well.

In the CTK story we have been blessed because larger, established Worship Centers (like Bellingham, Lynden, Mount Vernon, Anacortes, etc.) have "paid it forward" to assist small and medium sized Centers, not just with resources, but with prayer, relationships, people-power and coaching. It reminds me of how, in the forest, smaller flora and fauna will not survive except for the shade and protection of the larger trees. We need all sizes working in a supportive eco-system. This is why at CTK, while we always want to validate the small, we can't forget to appreciate the big, and the ligaments that hold it all together.