Here are commandments six to ten of my Ten Commandments For Church Leadership:

6. Never major in minors

There are many things it is possible to let go of. We need to ask ourselves, “Is this essential?” Does this truly foster the mission of the church? (see #1 above)

Jesus said,

Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.
(Matthew 8:20)

There are no final resting places in this material time-bound physical realm. Not much is non-negotiable.

The sign posts we use to point to the Spirit are all temporary. We need to be willing to let go of those instruments that no longer support the heart-opening of a new generation not raised on the traditional language and practices of the church. We do less harm when we live lightly on the land.

As a leader in the church, I need to acknowledge when I am pushing my own agenda. I need to be honest about the part my personal tastes and preferences are playing in my leadership and be willing to take the uncomfortable route of laying aside my own needs, wants, and desires.

7. Reduce drama

There are few ditches worth dying in. Battlefields are created when feelings are inflamed and allowed to run out of control.

The adrenaline rush of drama is addictive and, like most addictions, deeply destructive. The temporary titillation of intensity that comes from fighting for my version of reality is seldom worth the cost.

There are few things for which it is worth giving up the peace that Christ desires to produce in our lives. We will always make better, more healthy choices for everyone, when we make our decisions from a balanced, steady place in which we are not constantly yanked around by external forces.

8. Take a deep breath and pauseat

The way to that steady place from which healthy action flows, is through staying deeply grounded in the strong truth and wisdom that is Christ’s presence in our lives. We gain access to this wisdom within ourselves by stepping aside for a moment from the clutter and agitation of daily life, pausing, taking a deep breath and returning to the steady centre that is our true nature.

It is remarkable how many “problems” solve themselves  when I step aside for a moment and resist the temptation to meddle.

9. Take responsibility for your life

Organizations operate better when everyone takes responsibility for their own life.

Paul said,

all must carry their own loads. (Galatians 6:5)

I alone am ultimately responsible for my own spiritual life. Being an adult means taking ownership for my inner state. The world may be full of difficult, painful, uncomfortable situations. I seldom have the power to control these realities. But I always have the power to choose how I respond.

10. Never assume you have heard, or been heard, correctly

Human communication is profoundly difficult.

The distance between what is said and what is heard is often vast. Part of taking responsibility for my life, is acknowledging that I may not always hear you correctly and that I am responsible for being as clear as I can about communicating accurately what I hope to say.

Always check that what you have said has been heard and that what you have heard is what the speaker has intended to say.

Avoid triangles at all costs. Third hand reports of what has been said never create healthy communication. If someone needs to say something to you they need to speak to you. If you need to say something,  you need to speak to the person to whom it needs to be said.


None of these commandments of course are carved in stone. But they are guiding principles that have helped me survive nearly four decades of ministry in the church.