Friday, July 30, 2010


In our never-ending quest to firm up our leadership, many of us take inspiration from Paul's words to Timothy: "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others." Truly, the greatest amplifier of our impact is leadership development, as described in 2 Timothy 2:2. But that is the second verse, not the first. The first is, "You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." Before we strengthen others, we strengthen ourselves. And in a very particular attribute: grace.

It seems like a mixed metaphor to be "strong" in "grace." But if you're Paul, you know all too well how the two go together. After his conversion, Paul was not readily accepted by the Christian community. He had an unsavory past. Fortunately for him, Barnabas (an established Christian leader at the time) was strong in grace. He put his arm around Paul and welcomed him into the community. It was a strength that Paul would evidently develop within himself, as he continued to face doubters throughout the rest of his ministry (in nearly every book Paul wrote, he included some "defense" of himself). Such, you might say, is the life of a murderer who comes to Christ and becomes an outspoken apostle. But when Paul tells Timothy that he will also need to be strong in grace, he reveals an important insight: a Christian leader needs to be strong in grace, not by virtue of the fact that they have a dark past, but simply by virtue of the fact that they are a Christian leader.

When I became a pastor I didn't realize that I was stepping into a storm. The storm goes by different names - legalism, moralism, judgmentalism - but it is always driven by winds of fear. There are always people in your ministry who will try to blow you and others off course from the life-changing, life-giving message of grace. Like the Galatians of old, their skepticism will be clothed in religious-sounding garb. They will use words like "accountability" and "protect the flock." Only, they won't be talking about the standards laid out in scripture, they will be talking about their own list. They will try to exert control over the ministry and the people in it. Frankly, these moralists will dominate the church, if you let them, and have done so in many ministries across the country. What is the antidote for these fear-mongers? Leaders who will stand strong in God's grace. If you don't, who will?

Monday, July 26, 2010


Peter Bloch writes, "Possibility without accountability results in wishful thinking. Accountability without possibility creates despair." Which comes first, accountability or possibility? We need them both, so don't feel like you need to embrace one and neglect the other. But which one will be in the driver's seat, and which one will be in the passenger seat?

The church in which I grew up put accountability in the driver's seat. If we could just be dedicated enough (or fill in the blank, sincere enough, holy enough, etc.) we would become a great community. We never got there. Accountability is a great passenger, but a lousy driver. We spent most of our time pulling ourselves out of the ditch. At CTK we've made it clear that possibility is in the drivers seat, and accountability is along for the ride, to fix sandwiches, engage in conversation, and switch the channels on the radio. Now we're getting somewhere!

Possibility is made primary in various ways, but largely through the hope-filled language we use to describe the community we are creating together. Phrases like "hope for the future and forgiveness for the past" or "an authentic Christian community that effectively reaches out" let people know that this is an enterprise filled with possibility and that they can come along for the ride. It's a fun ride when possibility is at the wheel. On the other hand, possibility won't get to reality without accountability riding shotgun.

When you have a vision of a preferable future, you are ready for accountability and will respond to it well. If you have a goal to become a judo master, you are far more open to the instructor's training, and correction. When the instructor says, "Jump" you ask, "How high?" But if you don't have a goal to become a judo master, and someone comes into your life and says, "Jump," you don't respond with, "How high?" but "Say what?!" This explains the rebellion that has been seen in many legalistic settings, where accountability in a leadership role, instead of a support role. Accountability is a handmaiden to possibility.

Monday, July 12, 2010


I was asked to speak about the organization of CTK recently, and instead of whipping out the org charts and bylaws, I decided to share more on the idea-level about how we are structured. Here are some of the organizing principles behind the CTK story.

• Christ is the head of the church. “Christ the King” is not just our name, but the starting point for our organizational structure. Jesus owns the church – He paid pull price for it. We are clear on this point. The church is his body. We are depending on God for His leadership of our lives, and our story.

• Our organizational philosophy is “freedom, with handrails.” Within the handrails of our “beliefs” and “brand” there is freedom granted for individuals to do what needs to be done to achieve the mission Christ gave us. We are more committed to the Master and the Mission, than the Method and the Manner.

• We are minimalists when it comes to structure. We only want the minimum amount of structure with maximum flexibility. Our structure is “chaordic” – a combination of chaos and order. We have often referred to it as “following the bread crumbs.” We first try to discern where God is going, then we try to follow Him there, organizing accordingly. As a multi-site story, CTK closely resembles the apostolic organization of the early church.

• Two key words that serve as filters for our organization are “virtuous” and empowering. By virtuous we mean “inherently good.” The word is defined as “having or showing moral goodness or righteousness.” The word can apply to groups as well as individuals. A second guiding light is the word “empowering.” One of the defining questions for any organization is, “Who gives power to whom?” In a bad organization, the organization receives power from the participants. In a good organization, the participants receive power from the organization.

• “Staff are to create and sustain an environment where the people of CTK can carry out their ministries with minimum obstacles and maximum fulfillment” (CTK Job Description). We want our organization to serve the people, rather than for the people to serve our organization. The key word is not control, but empower.

• The “Jesus style” of leadership is servant-leadership. Greatness is found in serving rather than being served. The emphasis at CTK is on leaders who are higher in the organization serving and supporting the leaders below them.

• We want to be efficient with things, effective with people. Effectiveness with people means treating them as individuals and getting to know their story. Ministry is simply helping people where they are, with what they need, to get where they need to go.

• We see our various Worship Centers as “beads on a string”…different shapes and sizes held together by a common thread. The common thread is our mission, vision and values. The mission we share is more important than our diverse opinions. The needs of the group outweigh the needs of individuals. We major on the majors and minor on the minors.

• There is an invisible line in any organization between faith and fear. We are clearly trying to operate in faith, with hope for the future and forgiveness for the past. To this end we are not only trusting the Lord with the church, we are trusting the Lord’s people with it.

• The Church Council is the official governing body of CTK. The Council consists of the Lead Pastor, Elders, and Consultants. The Bylaws outline the powers and responsibilities of the Council. The Council is responsible for hiring and evaluating the Lead Pastor. “Primarily, the Council will ensure that the Lead Pastor is guiding Christ the King Community Church in accordance with its stated mission, vision and values, and that the business side of the church is administrated with excellence” (CTK Bylaws, Article IV). The council appoints an “Executive Review Committee” each year that is chaired by one of the Regional Pastors. This committee is in communication with the Lead Pastor throughout the year, reviews the leadership of the Lead Pastor through an annual report, responds to concerns as they arise, and, if necessary, initiates disciplinary action, calling upon an established group of outside pastors. They also maintain a succession plan in case of the Lead Pastor’s death.

• The Lead Pastor oversees the CTK network. The Lead Pastor is responsible for the hiring and placement of department heads and pastors. The Lead Pastor works with an Administrative Review Team and Regional Pastors to give support to the network.

• The Local Pastor oversees the spiritual and ministry aspects of the Worship Center in accordance with established priorities. The Local Pastor is responsible for the hiring and placement of local directors and group leaders. Pastors may designate individuals to help give oversight to the local ministry, and are free to utilize language as they deem appropriate for those who are their colleagues; including staff, directors, associates, assistants, leaders, advisory team, etc. These individuals do not have a standing office, but serve at the will of the Pastor.

• Accountability and authority flows through relationships. We ask everyone to be a part of a small group for friendship, growth, encouragement, and outreach. It is in the small group that we can take “relational responsibility” for each other. Organizational authority is mediated through pastoral relationships. All Pastors are asked to have monthly meetings with their supervisor and colleagues. The lines on the flow chart represent “advice,” which flows in both directions. This responsibility is managed by different people at different levels of the organization.

Small Group Leader - Cell

Ministry Director - Community

Local Pastor - Congregation

Area Pastor - County

Regional Pastor - Country

Champion - Continent

Lead Pastor - Church

• In a relational church, relationships are the end and the means. Many questions that get answered “organizationally” in other churches are answered “relationally” at CTK. A phrase to describe our commitment to relational infrastructure is “Span of Care.” Ideally we ask leaders to limit their Span of Care to not more than five to seven people for themselves and those they support.

• From time to time, differences may arise with the authority placed over us, particularly when authority blocks our goals or challenges our will. When we have a difference of opinion with authority, we need to learn how to make an appeal. An effective appeal requires a right attitude, humility and a teachable Spirit. In moments of conflict, what is happening in us is the most important consideration. Appeals should be directed first to the person to whom we have the conflict, then, if necessary, to their supervisor. An ultimate appeal can be made to the Church Council: “Should any individual, participant or guest feel aggrieved by the action of any officer acting in his or her official capacity, said individual shall have the right to appeal to the Church Council. The Council, after hearing such evidence as it deems appropriate, shall have the authority to affirm, modify or reject the action of the officer” (CTK Bylaws, Section VIII).

• We believe in strong church leadership that serves the best interests of God's people. The church needs to be led thoughtfully, Biblically, and aggressively by spiritual men who care about God's work and his people (1 Peter 5:1-4). Biblical leadership is sensitive to the needs of the followers, is motivated by service, and built upon trust (Ephesians 5:22-29).

• God has given apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to the church and it is important to us to support them in their ministry. Ideally the church should be led by leaders, pastored by pastors, taught by teachers, etc. Good leadership and good followership are partners.

• The office of Elder is designated in the Church Council. “The Elders shall assist the Lead Pastor in the administration of the church and in all matters of business pertaining thereto. Further, the Elders shall act, at the direction of the Church Council, in matters of personal discipline and restoration” (CTK Bylaws, Article V). Only male pastors may serve in the office of Elder (1 Timothy 3:1-7).

• Though we have many deacons, we do not have an office of Deacon because in scripture deacons (diakonos, literally “servants”) were not decision makers but individuals who carried out responsibilities. In our story we are less interested in the title, and more interested in the behavior of servanthood, which has been modeled so well by so many.

• Our objective is to become an organic, relational movement, not an institutional, attractional ministry. Organisms are alive, with inherent energy. Growing and expanding stories require organizational flexibility. In an organism, cells regenerate and grow naturally by multiplication. An organism continues to branch and seed with spontaneity and mystery. The cells reproduce and self-organize at all levels with fractal similarity. Paul deployed Timothy; Timothy deployed others, and so on. It is everyone’s job to identify, deploy, train and support leaders.