Introducing Counter-Cultural Leadership

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We hope you found the November series on Advent and Christmas helpful. Today we start a new series on Counter-Cultural Leadership. If you are reading this, then you likely have a drive to lead, are open to change, and love being aware of culture. We hope this series provides practical, experiential, and thoughtful reflection that resources and inspires you. Below are 7 ideas of counter-cultural leadership that give a sampling of what we’ll cover in this series.

  1. Counter-cultural leaders see people as real people rather than composites or stereotypes.“Only a small percentage of police officers that are problematic. I have several police officers who are treated like sell outs. I would understand that our [police officers who have come under scrutiny] are real people, with issues and families who care for them. I started off doing a police ride along and getting to know local law enforcement.  We’ve hosted Coffee with The Cops the past two years as well. The steps are easy but it takes a bit of time.  Our local law enforcements now sends me text messages about volunteer opportunities.” ~Church Planter in Ohio, helping to plant urban churches among African Americans
  2. Counter-cultural leadership sees strengths and potential in a variety of people.“One of our commitments to the multiplication movement is an ‘all hands on deck’ approach, welcoming minorities, women, younger, older as church planters.  It takes extra effort at each step of the process to follow through on this commitment and to correct systematic challenges. We are evaluating how we recruit for urban work, how we can create pathways for women, and partnering with our colleges to reach deeper into the younger generation.” ~Denominational Official, on church planting as a movement
  3. Counter-cultural leadership leverages community and people power for other organizations.“We recently asked our Lead Team to choose two local nonprofits that they believe are doing some much needed community development and to take a family from the church with them to interview the leadership of the nonprofit and find out what their heartbeat/mission is. We then asked the nonprofit leadership how they would utilize 20-25 volunteers monthly/quarterly, listing the skill sets of the volunteer teams so they know how they might utilize them. Why is this countercultural? Because it’s not about our church’s attendance, programs, or building our brand. We’re asking what the community needs and how we can play our part in restoring, renewing or reconciling.” ~Church Planter and Non-profit Developer
  4. Counter cultural leadership is OK with a slow pace.“People are used to pushing a button, pulling a lever, or plugging something in and then seconds or minutes later you have your desired results. This so easily forms our expectations for how we make disciples. But we have all throughout the Scriptures the metaphor or picture of planting. This agricultural metaphor needs to be reclaimed, because it is the way we are created. We cultivate the soil of our heart for transformation, we build practices into our routines so that in time we have a softer heart, more attuned hearing, and the patience necessary to live the way of Christ. Our souls don’t have switches and our prayers are not about a push button performance. We are an art and a science, but not a machine with mechanisms.” ~Michigan Church Planter
  5. Counter-cultural leadership is OK with illness and asking for help.“One way our church plant believes that counseling is something healthy people do, not sick people do. The mission of our church is to restore lives back to God’s original intent and we believe Christian counseling is something that is a huge benefit. We want to frame it as something preventative instead of reactive.” ~Indiana Church Planter
  6. Counter-cultural leadership has a healthy sense of vulnerability. “One culturally prevalent leadership practice that is easy to step into and widely used is the mindset that the leader needs to keep himself at a distance from ‘the people’ to maintain a sense of authority. In reality, many New Testament leaders were deeply involved in people’s lives.” ~Church Planter Collective Contributor
  7. Counter-cultural leadership sees the unseen. Counter-cultural leadership seeks to see the unseen. One of our church planters in New York City works at collecting socks to be distributed in various locations. Brand new socks can be distributed in nursing homes, hospitals, shelters, and other places. This need is not easily seen, in part because much of Western culture is slow to show our feet, but counter-cultural leaders learn to see the unseen. What has your culture hidden that you need to see to lead well?

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