I had a prophetic word shortly before I started the Tree of Life family of churches, which basically said that one of the hardest jobs I will ever have in my future is to stop people trying to sew their cotton patches into your silk dream. That word has certainly proved to be true!
You see when you have a dream, a vision, a way forward to help people and change the world, there will always be people who want to attach themselves to it, but at the cost of the purity of the dream.
- There are people who want the benefits of what you are building, who are not interested in your vision and way of doing things.
- There are people who have never done what you have done but they want to be your adviser, and if you don’t listen to their they claim you never listen to anyone.
- There will be people who want to change the culture because what you are doing moves them out of their comfort zone, so they want to change the culture to one they are comfortable with.
- There are people who want their voice to be heard, they think they have come to your church to speak not to listen.
- There are people who are never happy because they are unhappy with themselves, so rather than change themselves, they want to change their environment and that includes you
- There are people who want to take short cuts and don’t like the fact you will not compromise.
It is not just enough to build a healthy church culture, you must as a leader protect it. You must fight for what you believe in and fight to be who you are corporately. You have to reject any idea that will compromise your culture.
The cultural battle lines in the church may surprise you. The main one is generally found in the worship – what songs are sung, how they are sung, the lyrics. John Wesley said that he didn’t care who preached in a Methodist church as long as they sung the songs he and his brother wrote. That might be a little hyperbole, but it is a vital part of the church. Children’s and youth ministry is another battle ground, where people will want to do things their way.
In the next few weeks, I will show you how to keep that culture and make it work no matter who attacks it. Just being aware you have to fight – that is a great start!