We had the opportunity to talk with an insightful and impactful friend of ours on his podcast recently. We’ve known Mike Goldsworthy as a fellow local pastor and plain old good guy, but he’s known more widely for his work supporting leaders across the country as they navigate the newness of the post-evangelical space. When he invited us on to speak to questions about healthy leadership structures and alternatives to toxic hierarchical models, we were thrilled to accept!
The whole conversation is worth a listen (shameless plug) and covers a bunch of ground. But for those who’d prefer the quick and dirty version, here’s a bit of a highlights reel!
Bill on being a church for the excluded:
“So many people have been hurt by the church. So our church is really defined by this: we’re spiritual refugees. People who have been cast out, thrown out, run over, or excluded and really have no other place to go.”
Brenna on inclusion of all kinds in “progressive” spaces:
“There’s one thing to getting intellectually on board with inclusion. And it’s a total other thing to actually live into it… It’s easier to tear down some of the formal barriers than it is the informal barriers.”
Brenna on the pendulum swing between hierarchy and a chaotic mutuality:
“A lot of us have been hurt by [hierarchy]… So we want to swing to the opposite direction. And we’re just like, ‘No more hierarchy! We’re tossing all that out! We’re going to be very, very mutual and let’s see what God can do!’ Which is great, except as it turns out, you get nothing done.”
Side-note: “Anarchy” is actually what a thesaurus will suggest to you as the opposite of hierarchy. We don’t at all think that’s the way it has to be, just what it too often is. What we’re advocating is a healthy, intentional mutuality.
Bill on moving from lead pastor to co-pastor:
“I had to have some real heart-to-hearts with Jesus about who am I, what am I doing. I think along the way I just realized there has got to be a different way to do ministry… Ok, so I’m surrendering what I thought was my power… [Then I realize] No, this is a gift, this is a gift God’s given me. And it’s been nothing but a gift.”
Brenna on co-leading must’s:
“When someone comes and asks me – and I do have people do this all the time – ‘hey I’m about to start a co-directorship, or a co-pastorate, any tips that you would pass on’? Pretty much my first question is, ‘do you have an agreed upon way to do conflict.’ You’re going to disagree with each other.”
Brenna on organizational change:
“How do you start practicing sharing power? How do you start practicing explicitly in your communication saying, ‘We don’t want it to be just about us, we want to start bringing people in’? Figuring out which decisions we make together, which conversations we should be having to build mutual understanding… It’s those intentional conversational practices that we’re really focusing on with people.”
Bill on our Funnel/Leadership Levels tool:
“It’s immensely helpful to decide, to determine what kind of conversation we’re having. Who’s the leader, what’s the responsibility, where is shared power, where is it not, so that there’s real clarity.”
Brenna on how these simple practices create radical change:
“The reality is, this is going to end up taking churches into new areas. Because all of the sudden you are going to be hearing different voices that you weren’t hearing before, and like Bill was describing, you’re going to lose some control. You are going to be sharing power, it is going to take some internal work.”
Bill on next steps:
“Sure, come to us, we’ll talk about that in a second. But find some gay friends. Find some transgender friends who are on a spiritual journey. Spend time with them. They’ve had to go through what you’re going through now. They will love and accept you, and you will learn from them in ways you will never learn from us.”
Side-note: We happily share a list of friends and thought leaders in the BIPOC and LGBTQ communities we’d suggest as conversation partners HERE.
Want to hear more?
Other Potential Next Steps
Oh, this was fun. And it was great timing, because this coming month, we’re offering our free webinar LEAD WITH… Out Being an A$$hole again, before we kick off another Lead With Teams coaching cohort!
One other quick and easy option? Download our free 5 page LEAD WITH… Out Being an A$$hole guide (the one we talked about during the podcast). Hopefully it’ll be a 5 minute read that leads to days of reflection!