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On the Good Ship Hillcrest
by Tom Goodman
November 11, 2011

You are a Crew Member, a Passenger, a Stowaway, or a Pirate.  Every member of Hillcrest falls under one of these labels.

That's an image Will Mancini provides in his book, Church Unique.  What label a person wears depends on his or her answer to two questions:

Do I embrace the church's vision?

Do I want to be a contributor to the church?

The church's "vision" is the hoped-for future that a church's leadership is steering the church toward.  To "contribute" to the church means more than financial support -- though it includes that.  It involves one's investment of time, skills, energy and input in the work of the church.

A "yes" or "no" answer to these two questions results in four types of people in every church.  Think of the church like a ship:

The Crew is made up of people who buy the vision and want to contribute.

Passengers are people who buy the vision and don't want to contribute.

Stowaways are people who don't buy the vision and don't want to contribute.

Pirates are people who don't buy the vision and do want to contribute.

As to the last category -- Pirates -- Mancini acknowledges that not everyone has ill intent simply because they don't buy the vision but still want to influence the organization.  Nevertheless, he says, "to want to contribute and to not agree with the vision is an act of piracy, whether the person has harmful intentions or not."

I think this is a helpful way to identify the people in any organization, including a church.  In my experience, the majority of every church is made up of Passengers and Crew.  Though the Pirates can cause a lot of trouble -- intended or not -- a leader's focus should be on how to turn Passengers into Crew.

I'm grateful for Passengers who can at least articulate our church's vision, but we want an ever-growing Crew who lend a hand to actually accomplish that vision.  As a partner in leadership, look for ways to build our Crew!


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