Over the last month the Hillsong Leadership Network has hosted a new event called a “Long Lunch” all around Australia.
Gathered around those tables were Senior Pastors from a wide range of denominations, sizes, methods, ages, experiences and contexts. The diversity of the leaders and churches represented is one of the strengths of the Hillsong Leadership Network. I love that even in the midst of the diversity there was a great sense of honour, curiosity, respect, wisdom, laughter and vulnerability.
Interestingly enough, we found that despite the range of diversity represented in the rooms, not once did we ever talk on the subject of unity. We were just in unity. I’ve personally been in a lot of meetings over the years where we’ve spent so much time circling around the subject of unity, then concluding with members feeling coerced into making commitments towards unity. For instance, donating resources, finances or worse still…booking in more meetings.
Leaders can sometimes see unity as a method or process towards blessing (outcome/result). We have found however, Unity is the outcome, and Blessing is the overflow. Unity is the outcome of the environment that you create – so rather than striving for unity, here are five characteristics of a unity-producing environment:
1) Honour Others Strengths
Acknowledge what others have succeeded in, positioning them with high esteem and worthy of learning from their wisdom. Every church and leader is uniquely gifted and plays his or her part in the Body of Christ. Your strengths may be able to serve their weakness and vice versa.
2) Be Curious About What You Don’t Know
No matter how successful you’ve been up till now, there’s always more to learn. Tomorrow will be different from today, and one of the most dangerous things you can do is become complacent and comfortable.
The best leaders are always looking to learn.
3) Create Time With No Agenda
Sometimes we approach meetings as an opportunity to download everything we think another needs to know – but why not schedule time where there’s freedom for others to direct the agenda according to their current challenges and enquiries.
4) Leave Space for Fellowship
There’s nothing better than good food to bring friends together and engage in deeper conversation. With a couple minutes at a networking event you only really begin to scratch the surface. Often the most dynamic conversations start by asking just a few more questions.
5) Keep a Level Playing Field
It’s amazing how quickly we can create divisions in our minds when we start to compare church sizes, number of campuses, length of time in ministry, size of staff and so on. Choose to keep an open environment. Why not get to know each other by sharing your favourite hobbies or something on your “bucket list” to ensure everyone feels heard from the outset.
In April, we are bringing our Long Lunches to eight key cities around Asia. It would be our honour and privilege to host you and your leadership team at a Long Lunch. We would love to share insights from our key Hillsong Leadership Team to help further equip you in building strong, healthy, Kingdom-advancing local churches.
The event is designed for Senior Leaders to understand both the principles that have shaped the culture behind Hillsong Church, how it functions practically on a daily basis and as described above, a space for you to ask any questions.
We truly hope this day is a blessing to you and your Church.
For more information and to register click here hil.so/asialonglunch