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Existential Ekklesia Angst

In our work with churches, we primarily assist with what we call “organizational discipleship”.

It’s the idea that pastors and church leaders know what it means to follow Jesus and shepherd others along the path, but leading and managing an organization—whether it’s ten people or ten thousand—is a different skill set.

Often it’s about staffing, or systems, or infrastructure, or budgeting, or leadership development, or a myriad of operational issues that can drive you crazy. And so one of the things we do at Elemental Churches is develop self-facilitating tools to help leaders with things like strategic planning, values clarification, first impressions assessments, gap analysis, and so on. But beyond the operational challenges of leadership, I’ve noticed two primary building blocks that are critical to your organization’s DNA. I call them:

A Righteous Reason and A Team of Trust.

Without these two factors, churches—or any organization—will suffer existential angst…and will struggle with long-term effectiveness. So let’s unpack these. A Righteous Reason is more than a vision or mission. It’s a deeply held organizational conviction that’s rooted in a cause connected to the heart of God. It’s why the church or company exists…and that “why” has a redemptive righteousness built into it, a morally justifiable reason to exist that creates passionate movement and action. It’s heart-breaking to see a church lose its Righteous Reason for existence. It goes through the motions like a factory that no longer produces anything other than keeping itself running on its own fumes. It’s a kind of a “perpetual introversion machine”. The second factor, a Team of Trust, implies two key leadership points: (1) structure and (2) culture. “Structure” in this case simply refers to a team. I’m continually surprised by churches that don’t function with a leadership team of some sort. A passionate, diverse team dreaming, praying, and strategizing together at the highest level is so much more potent and empowering than the solo “CEO-type” or some assigned committee. Yes, the team probably has an identified leader or “decider” within them, but they bring multiple viewpoints, gifts, and more brain-power to the table. I can’t stress team-based leadership enough. But… “Culture” is referring to an atmosphere of trust. Without a culture of trust, the team is stunted and the best ideas will lay dormant. Guaranteed. It’s hard to over-emphasize the critical nature of trust to the team dynamic, interaction, and engagement.

How would you rate the Righteous Reason or Team of Trust factors in your church or organization?



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