Leadership Unity and Vision Flow...

Growth and impact doesn't come easy. It's hard work. In addition to the organizational challenges, the church also has to tend with a spiritual foe, who relentlessly tries to discourage the work of the gospel. 

When leading churches through strategic planning, I ask them to identify the top risks that could slow down or stop growth and impact. While different churches identify different risks, there is one that usually makes it into the conversation, the lack of unity. Disunity is a risk. Dividing a church usually starts by dividing the team that's leading the church. 

In Bible, the Psalmist talks about the beauty and importance of unity. He writes,

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running on the collar of his robes! Psalms 133:1-2, ESV

In this passage, we see four important pieces of unity that can be applied to the church and the vision. Allow me to run with some symbolism here...

The Vision

The Psalmist paints a beautiful picture of God's people united under a cause. The cause is more than a Sunday gathering; it's about the Kingdom. If we rewind to the Old Testament, we know the oil was symbolic of God's anointing and presence. It reminds us that Kingdom vision must flow from above, from God Himself. When the church is unified around God's vision, powerful things happen. Our responsibility is to keep ourselves and our church in alignment with where God is leading.

The Leader

Notice the oil is poured upon Aaron's head, who served as God's priest in the Old Testament. In the church world, this would be a picture of the lead pastor. This doesn't mean the pastor has all the answers or is responsible for the complete organizational vision of the church; but at the end of the day, he is the leader and must know where God is leading. A pastor can't unify a church around a vision that he isn't clear about himself. Knowing God's heart requires an intentional listening on our end. There is nothing that can replace time alone with God

The Lead Team

The oil runs from the head to the beard. The beard is a picture of a leadership team, or those who surround the head. They share the same oil; the same vision. The idea is, when the head turns, the beard turns with it. They are unified and focused on the same things. When this happens, it truly is beautiful. However, when there is a misalignment between the leader and the leadership team, the vision flow becomes interrupted and focus becomes lost. 

The Church Body

The most interesting fact about this Psalm is the collar of his robes. If the head represents the leader and the beard the team who surrounds the leader, then the body must represent...the church body. When you think about it, hair doesn't absorb oil as much as it carries it. It's the collar of the robe that absorb it. Here's the picture. When the leader and lead team are in alignment and unified, the church body becomes the recipient of the oil. Vision is carried to them. They become saturated with God's purpose and awesome things begin to happen. 

Things to Ponder...

1. What practices are in place to ensure strong unity between the lead pastor and leadership team?

2. How often does the leadership team come together and measure vision progress?

3. What are the best practices for leadership to carry vision to the church body? 


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