Husband. Dad to 5. Student Ministry Pastor. Follower of Jesus. Yatta yatta.


The hardest job I have as a pastor is getting people to integrate their lives together.

Everyone in leadership knows that the if you leave an organization alone, it will eventually go off mission.  People will gradually do what they want instead of what they originally signed on to do. Groups of people of like mindset will segregate and begin cliques.  Complexity will increase and apathy will set in.

It happens in retail, youth ministry, schools, churches… it happens all over the place.  In order to stay on mission, with clear goals and a simple vision, all organizations need good leadership that can call out all kinds of ulterior agendas.

This is a subtle art to master, especially if integration is the goal.

I think it’s easy to call out dissenting voices: those that are anti the mission, because they self identify themselves as such. They are against the vision and want to change it.  Leaders confront this as a danger to organizational health. They are the whiners.

I think it’s easy to call out segregated cliques: because they do their own thing in their own way on their own time frame.  They are not ream players and are not really trying to be.  Leaders address these groups because they threaten unity.  They are the lone rangers.  

It’s however NOT easy to call out complementary groups:  because they seem like they are with you.  They are the flip side of your coin. They are the left hand and you are the right.  This seems logical and needed.  And in the church for example, it could be both good and needed… if we were talking about how two churches work together.  Church A is like blah and Church B does this other thing instead. So far so good.

However, in a single church, I think this a lousy way to operate.  I think it’s cheap and easy.  I think complementary groups are segregated cliques that share a common collective mission but have their own agenda.  Like a small group that does it’s own weekend retreats instead of joining the larger church trip.  It seems good, but it’s subtly moving from “our” mission and into “their” mission.  

I THINK THE GOAL SHOULD BE INTEGRATED SPACES, NOT COMPLEMENTARY LEADERSHIP ENVIRONMENTS.   This means that I have to work hard to not just have small groups and weekend services, but to have them mutually working together.  It means that i have to do the hard work of creating a brand new union instead of just gluing two different programs together.  It means working hard to create a new normal… a new mutual space.

By way of a visual, this is COMPLEMENTARY programming.

This is INTEGRATED programming.

In my leadership, I want to strive for integration, not just complementation.  They might be a subtle difference, but they are significant and when we integrate, we truly transform lives.

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