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“According to God’s gifting and calling, we will intentionally prepare and release men and women across generations and cultures into all positions of leadership and areas of ministry.” —Foursquare’s Global Distinctives

Whether we are senior pastors, ministry pastors or missionaries, each of us serves under a particular kind of leadership culture. To me, culture can simply be defined by the phrase, “It’s the way we do things here.”

As my good friend and leadership consultant Sam Chand says, “Culture will eat strategy for breakfast, every day.” We could have the best strategy and vision, but, if we don’t concentrate on creating and cultivating healthy, empowering and reproducible environments, then it is going to take us much longer to get where we want to go.

In our Foursquare family, we have some outstanding senior pastors who have cultivated empowering leadership environments. Some of the greatest movements of church planting and multiplication in Foursquare exist because these pioneers were not shy in shaping young men and women, who were called by God, to lead churches and campuses in order to continue to advance the Great Commission.

Here’s what I have learned from Sam Chand, and what I would also like to add about leadership cultures that are empowering. I’ll call these the three C’s of empowering leadership cultures and environments:

Confront What Needs to Be Confronted

The opposite of an empowering environment is one that stifles. But just as bad is one that enables behaviors that are counter-cultural. What we need to do is confront what needs to be confronted.

It could be an attitude that has finagled its way into your teams, or a key leader who is misrepresenting your vision and values. There are so many examples of things we can often tolerate for one reason or another.

It could be that we want peace. Peace at any cost will often steal the very thing that you need in your culture: peace. It often costs us much, much more than we bargained for because we tolerated things that needed to be confronted. If you have a tough time doing this, you’d better learn how—and quickly!

Communicate What Needs to Be Communicated

Keeping people “in the loop” is important. But communicating to people who need to know what you know is often the key to empowering environments.

When we become careless in communicating the who, what, where, when and why to the appropriate people, people get nervous and begin wondering where they stand within the church, or what their status is with us. Insecurity can come into play, but, if we simply over-communicate what needs to be passed on, our teams will fly farther than we expected.

Cultivate What Needs to Be Cultivated

It’s common for us to have grown up in a culture where some of the most important factors and principles in ministry were expected to be “caught and not taught.” It sounds so good! If that is the mainstay of how we lead, our environments will be chaotic at worse, and ambiguous at best.

Environments that empower have two characteristics. They are defined and then they are coached in “real time.” In other words, they are “taught until they are caught.” If we are going to empower a new crop of leaders, it would serve us better if we could articulate and define what is expected of them, and what a “win” is.

We all need to know where the target is and how to hit it. Then, coaching, correcting and encouraging people at the first opportunity that presents itself will help us all become all God intended us to be.

So, confront, communicate and cultivate for a greater, empowering leadership environment.


The Global Distinctives, agreed on by nearly 240 leaders at the 2012 Global Summit, are six unifying principles that bind our whole Foursquare family in doctrine and culture.

Read more stories on how people live out our Foursquare Global Distinctives.

is lead pastor of Inspire Church, a multi-site Foursquare church based in Honolulu, with four campuses including one in Manila, Philippines.
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