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Is Your Church Self-Aware?

Over the years I’ve found myself ruminating on why pastors are often reluctant to engage with outside organizational assessors and coaches or even in-house team-based reviews and surveys. I think it’s the human condition that makes us reluctant to expose our weaknesses or fear of change in front of others. In dysfunctional settings where perhaps a board and senior pastor are at odds, or a “culture of honor” and trust have not been established with staff, it’s inevitable that a leader feels he or she must carefully guard their vulnerabilities. But the trouble is, we all have our blind spots—both personally and organizationally—and unless we take the time to amp up our level of self-awareness and our organizational discernment, we risk limiting the scope of our influence.


Jesus demands that his followers become reflective and self-aware when he says, “Why do you notice the little piece of dust in your friend’s eye, but you don’t notice the big piece of wood in your own eye? How can you say to your friend, ‘Let me take that little piece of dust out of your eye’? Look at yourself! You still have that big piece of wood in your own eye. You hypocrite! First, take the wood out of your own eye. Then you will see clearly to take the dust out of your friend’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5 New Century Version) This is a leadership issue. Jesus is talking about the need to help others discover the things that cause them pain or limit their ability to see their world effectively or function at the peak of their ability. But it first requires a degree of self-leadership.


When challenging his followers on the cost of discipleship, Jesus employed a metaphor that implied a principle of organizational self-awareness: “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’” (Luke 14:28-30) It’s interesting that while focusing his followers on personal discipleship, Jesus used an example of organizational discernment. Our churches, ministries, and organizations must be aware of their own limitations and Achilles’ heels as well as their barrier-breaking potential and scope. It is our deepest hope at Elemental Churches that you bring out the best and highest capabilities in the people you are privileged to lead. And all for the Kingdom.

Question of the Day: On a Scale of 1-to-10, How Would You Rate Your Church's Self-Awareness?


Excerpted and adapted from “Elemental Leaders: Four Essentials Every Leader Needs…and Every Church Must Have.”

Check out this quick 2-minute video on the Elemental Churches Inventory.

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