The Church, Starving Artists, Sellouts, & Tweeners

When our church was interviewing architects for our building design, in trying to understand who we are, one group posed a fascinating question: If your church's building were a car, what would it be? I LOVED that question because it allowed us to be so descriptive in a completely fresh way (our answer was a Suburban with leather seats, btw).

I thought about that question when I was looking at our church through a different lens this week: If we were a band, who would we be? Realizing that some bands and groups are starving artists who are hyper-talented but connect with very few people, some are complete sell-outs, and a precious few are great and connect with millions of people--it seems like a great question to ask of a church. For Lake Hills Church, the answers really don't have anything to do with a musical style that we would or would not use in a worship service per se, but they reveal volumes about who we are:

U2--phenomenal artists, groundbreaking sounds, lyrics, and subject matter for a rock band. AND they touch hearts and stimulate minds through a phenomenal sense of poetry and aesthetic better than anyone alive. They're not afraid to entertain and celebrate while also making you think. And they've almost singlehandedly made social activism that makes a difference cool.
Lyle Lovett--Texas to the bone because that's who he genuinely is, but his intelligent lyrics transcend the Lone Star State and his comfortable-in-his-own-skin persona works in Carnegie Hall as easily as it does in Gruene Hall. Precious few people can pull off (custom-made) pointy-toe cowboy boots and Armani.
Hillsong Worship--as well as anyone around, they know who they are and why they do what they do, and they never stand pat. They are always evolving, growing, and breaking new ground lyrically and musically.
The Rolling Stones--the power of energy. There's something undeniably powerful and compelling about Mick's stage presence, Keith's guitar and Charlie's backbeat.

Who (in addition to Jesus!) would your church's culture, personality and presence reflect and why?


Clarifying... Pt. 3: Voice & Responsibility

As you clarify and refine the vision for your team/staff/church/business/school/family, you also have to clarify and refine the VOICE. The voice of a team is the shared sense of mission, joy, urgency, passion, work ethic, philosophy, and responsibility that defines the culture of that team. I CANNOT overstate how mission-critical the voice of your team is. It is sink-or-swim, do-or-die, life-and-death critical.

Some people that you recruit/hire/bring on will just "get it," almost from before day one. Some people don't get it yet, but they will as you teach and share it. And, some won't. For those who won't or can't, it means that you hired the wrong person. Not necessarily a bad person, but the wrong person for this team. 

And, some people are just so wounded that they can't get out of their own way emotionally and relationally and it doesn't matter what you do--it will never be enough. We have to love these people, invite them to join us in the larger mission/vision of the team, and help them where we can (or help them find help where we can't help them). But because of our responsibility to the larger team and mission or vision, we can't allow an individual or small group of people to be a drag and drain on our overall culture, performance, and team. 

Hopefully, we're engaged in something so audacious, so monumental, and significant, that to allow that would be catastrophic to our cause. As the leader, we don't have the luxury of settling for the catastrophe of mediocrity. We are responsible and accountable for the vision and the voice that are the vehicles for our vocation, our calling. Regardless of our leadership context or style, our personality, the benefits and rewards, or challenges and obstacles--responsibility is the defining characteristic of leadership. Accepting and embracing responsibility reveals a true leader.