3 comments Written on August 24th, 2012     
Filed under: Culture, Formation, Leadership
Today’s post was written by Chris Logan, Pastor of Worship Arts at Community Covenant Church in Lenexa, KS.


There is no such thing as a distraction-free environment.

Doesn’t exist.

And yet, as curators of environments for corporate worship, we are responsible for creating just such a space: one that enables our congregations to focus on hearing from and responding to God. We hear complaints all the time:

“It’s too loud!”

“It’s too quiet!”

“I can’t hear the preacher!”

“The little kids in the room make too much noise!”

“Do we HAVE to sing THAT song again?”

And that’s just  from the senior pastors.

So what gives?

I’ve been rereading a book called Scream-Free Parenting and I think that it might contain the answer. In a nutshell, the premise of the book is that, to raise healthy, well-adjusted kids to become healthy, well-adjusted adults, we have to focus on ourselves.

I know, right? It’s counterintuitive. The theory is that we are only able to directly control our own reactions to a given situation, and so if we’re to parent well, we must provide the best example possible, recognizing that we are not responsible FOR our children (who are human beings and who therefore make choices of their own agency), but that we are responsible TO our children to provide the best possible example and environment that we can for them to become who they were created to be. And so to do this, we must focus on ourselves becoming the best examples we can be. He says it like this:

If we want to produce self-directed adults, first we each have to become one ourselves. Especially in relationship to our children. This means creating space for them to make decisions and calming our anxiety about those decisions.

Leading is the same.

On the one hand, we’re supposed to be pointing people towards God, but in order to do that, we must be aware that we are not responsible FOR them worshipping, but we are responsible TO them by providing the best environment we are able in which they can engage with God, and by providing the best example we can of what worshipping looks like. Not a perfect environment, just the best we can;

There is no such thing as distraction-free.


We can’t control the outcome, we can only influence it. People will still find things to complain about – kids will still make noise (because it makes so much sense to make them sit still like tiny adults), feedback will still happen, and songs will still be chosen that aren’t everybody’s favorite. But it is THEIR choice to engage; our responsibility TO them is to keep the end in mind – transformed worshippers – and to remember that the transformation must first happen within ourselves.

Questions for you today:

1. How do you take care of yourself within the midst of the demands of work and family so that you can lead well?

2. How do you stay focused on the mission and vision, keeping the end in mind?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Report This Post

3 comments “Responsibility”

So basically what I take from your article is that it seems like you are discounting the feedback and not really hearing just how Important it is to the people you serve and those over you in leadership. We have similar issues in our congregation and many feel frustrated. If you don’t listen to it, you don’t encourage compromise and compromise won’t occur. So, what I take from your article is that by focusing on yourself and not solely on Christ, you are not truly transforming yourself, and you are not listening very well to your congregation. (parts of this article reminded me of Whitney Houston’s misguided song “The greatest love of all” ( which she says is loving yourself).

Report This Comment

I was a little worried about misinterpretation. Allow me to explain.

When I use the term “feedback,” I refer to the acoustic phenomenon when sound re-enters a microphone and produces a loud squealing noise, not conversations with those in one’s congregation.  Of course we need to pay attention to what people are saying, but we need to be discerning as well.  In the book, he suggests that mature adults will receive the conversation-feedback well (his context is “listen to your kids”), but mature adults will not react to the conversation without examining it carefully. Sometimes it’s important information and we need to respond with humility and gratitude (and with a change in our behavior), but other times it’s simply the equivalent of childish whining, someone who’s not getting their way and trying to intimidate staff or volunteers into doing what they want (obviously that’s not a sign of maturity, spiritual or otherwise). In those situations, we can’t be afraid to simply say “thank you for your thoughts, but we do this for a reason” and then explain.

His list includes (among other traits) these qualities: “gladly seeks counsel from others, but ultimately makes up her own mind; holds people accountable for their own actions, but does not blame others for his own problems; does not let others blame her for their problems; welcomes criticism and feedback, but does not automatically accept it as truth; takes care of himself in order to be available to others without needing them to take care of him.” You cannot make another person these things, only model them yourself.

The last line of my article sums it up well for me: “the first transformation must happen in ourselves.” Scripturally, we know that God is the one who provides the growth, so the issue here is our reaction to what’s going on; we can’t control other people and how they respond, we can only do what God has gifted us to do, under His Spirit’s guidance. I’m not saying we should do this on our own – far from it.  When I say we must focus on ourselves, I mean that in the context of “love the Lord with all of YOUR heart YOUR mind and YOUR strength.” YOU are responsible for your relationship with God.

What I’m saying is that we can’t take the ultimate outcome FOR OTHERS onto ourselves because it’s ultimately God’s outcome to guide; we can only be a part of the process. BUT, we CAN take our own choices and reactions on ourselves because they’re our own responsibility. Another way of saying it is that we are only the instrument of God, to be used by Him. Our responsibility is TO the congregation; we are to be present, we are to be in a good relationship as best we can with God, with our staff, with our volunteers, etc.  THAT is on US – WE are responsible for one worshipper: ourselves. We cannot force others to worship, and so as the author writes, we create space for others to make their decisions, we must calm our anxiety about it and, by extension, leave the outcome in God’s hands.

Report This Comment

thank you, Chris, the above is well spoken and helpful. I appreciate your thoughtful response. Thank you for the scripture reference and explanations of your point of view.

Report This Comment

Leave a Reply

Report This Blog