Spiritual leader or guru?

Often, I get a bit angsty trying to understand my role in the church. I understand that my office is pastor, but I feel more often like a missionary to the city and neighborhood our church is part of. That being said, there are certain requirements with the office of pastor and one of those is spiritual leader. That does not mean guru, “know it all,” or resident authority on the lives of those who ask me a question about their spiritual life. It does mean taking responsibility and caring for people who identity as part of our church community.

From his Book, Practicing Greatness, Reggie McNeal points out some key disciplines that all spiritual leaders must develop, I have highlighted them here:

  1. The discipline of self-awareness – this protects leaders from being self-absorbed or merely role driven.

“The difficulty with which some spiritual leaders acknowledge their ambition to seek greatness betrays its motivation.” ~ Reggie McNeal (Practicing Greatness)

  1. The discipline of self-management – acknowledges that great leaders are great managers, not just of others, but, primarily of themselves. Failure to manage yourself leaves a leader vulnerable.
  1. The discipline of self-development – never stop growing. Leaders choose to not only grow through strength but also through failure.
  1. The discipline of mission – Leaders give themselves to great causes. They order their lives focused on their mission rather than allowing others to hijack their agendas or distracting them.
  1. The discipline of decision making – Great leaders consistently make good decisions, knowing how, when and what decisions need to be made.
  1. The discipline of belonging – Great leaders practice community but also make a conscious decision to belong to others. They belong despite the risk, b/c they know that to quit risking is to quit loving and that to quit loving is to quit leading in the spiritual arena.
  1. The discipline of aloneness – great leaders not only endure loneliness of leadership but to actually build solitude into their lives. They appreciate the depth of soul making that is possible only in solitude and heart to heart exchanges with their Leader.

These are challenging and incredibly rewarding. I believe all of them are necessary and yet, I certainly have some work to do. If you are leading a faith community make this book part of your library.

Church and Workspace

Theology and culture

We are a few weeks away from opening our work space to the public. This is a unique way to be a church in an urban setting, so…what is the difference between Church and a Collaborative Work Space?

Church: There is a faith community that meets every Sunday in the venue and we serve as the energetic core of the Work Space. This community is committed to living beyond Sunday gatherings, and strives to be fully engaged with the neighborhood as a whole. Suffice it to say, the values of the faith community – urban renewal, intentional community, Influential leadership – deeply influence the values of the Work Space which also centers around relationships and creative community development. It is the faith community that drives the desire to serve the marginalized of our city. It is the faith community that gives of their resources generously so we can afford to maintain our building and continue developing initiatives and partnerships.

The heart of the faith community is to serve Seattle and surrounding neighborhoods.

We will always position ourselves to be in relationships that are crucial to transform the city and neighborhood with the love of Jesus. Thus, we see the Work Space as a tool that will give us this opportunity.

Collaborative Work Space:  We look to celebrate the individuals, and agencies that are working to make the city better. We began to look around and see that there are some outstanding organizations (faith based or not) that we wanted to partner with, because we realize how big the job is to make the city better.

While the faith community holds to Christian beliefs, we do not project these on our neighborhood.

We feel like God gave us this building, in a very strategic neighborhood, and it would be a shame to only use it for ourselves. So we devised a plan to use what resources we have to support and encourage our city and neighborhood – hence our name SEAchange Building.

And we are proud of the diversity of partners we have built relationships with. On top of the two organizations we partner with, we currently have two outside organizations who use our facilities to share workspace and move forward their organizational dreams. We do not require that any of these agencies share our faith. We choose to focus on common goals of community development and life transformation. We welcome individuals who just need a place to work and don’t want to face a long commute or need a place other than a home office.

All Saints Church is meant to be urban missional hub. God has called us to carry out this mission as a church that introduces all who believe, doubt and seek to the reality Jesus Christ. We are called to the difficult task of interacting with the educated, upper middle class urbanites who don’t have obvious need for a church, let alone a relationship with Christ.

Theology and Culture

I define theology as a way to apply the truths of God to the human experience; the way God interacts with our humanity by His divine presence. I define culture as the influence in a society that shapes values, ethics, and paradigms. As a pastor I have observed the disconnect between what a person believes and how they live in society. It has been interesting to read all the “techniques” Christians have employed to make the message “relevant” to their friends and neighbors. 

Continue reading Theology and Culture