Building A Solid Church Leadership Team - Part I
The Healthy Church
There are many seminars, books, programs on the market today that deal with "The Healthy Church." Most of these focus on the fact that a healthy church is a growing church. While in one context that is absolutely true, is it the final truth?
If we look at Jesus' ministry He was more interested in the discipleship of an individual then having a large crowd. He spoke the truth even when it cost Him a large portion of His following. Therefore, it would seem to me that healthy is more interior than it is exterior.
Yes, there are some big named churches and ministries out there that are doing good, but there are also a lot of small churches that have dedicated members and a committed Pastor serving their local communities in a very positive way.
If we want our church to be focused then what are some core principles we need to learn to build a strong leadership team that fulfills the purpose why the church exists?
The Vision: Why Are We Here?
The Bible clearly tells us that without a vision the people perish. We are also told to write the vision down, make it plain so that all who read it may run with it. The first aspect of the healthy church is a clear definition of why we exist.
Unfortunately, many churches have a "manager" as their Pastor instead of a "leader." What is the difference you may ask? A manager handles the issues of the day while a leader is taking you somewhere.
Many churches exists for the purpose of keeping their doors open. Their vision is to have a Sunday service and a mid-week Bible study and try to raise enough money to pay the bills and maybe the Pastor too.
But is this a vision? Is there any purpose in this? The reason many of these churches never develop a vision is because the Pastor looks at his position as a job instead of a calling. When we are called, we are called for a purpose.
Healthy churches know why they exist. It's not to be the biggest church in town, although that may be the results they experience. They exist to accomplish a vision.
I personally know a Pastor who was a former drug dealer. He had a very outgoing personality. He is one of those people who knows no stranger. He can literally walk up to anyone and talk to them and it feels like you've known him your whole life.
His heart is for drug addicts and prostitutes. He would hop on his bicycle at 11:00 p.m. and go down into the part of the city where the drug addicts and prostitutes hung out. He was accomplishing amazing things and he ministered in the streets of his city. His church was growing through the one-on-one relationship building that he possessed.
He, at one point, tried to get me to go with him. I told him "no." The reason is not because I don't care about the people he was ministering to, but that I am not called to that ministry. Because I am not called to it I would be ineffective in this type of ministry. However, I can sit down and talk to a high class attorney and the attorney will listen to me, where this other Pastor would be ineffective.
At some point my friend changed the direction of his ministry. He wanted to be a "normal" church, with "normal" people. Today that church no longer exists. It is unfortunate because this Pastor had a great gift of helping people who desperately needed Jesus.
Some churches are missionary or world evangelism focused, some have a heart for children and focus on outreaches in the schools, while others are more benevolent. It doesn't matter what our calling is what matters is that we know what we are focused on and we work to accomplish the vision.
When a church has a "manager" for a Pastor the church just deals with day to day issues, but when a healthy church has a "leader" for a Pastor then the Pastor will develop a team that he/she can lead into the fulfillment of the vision.
If we are going to be healthy we have to build a team, but there are some very key components to building a healthy team.
Who's Leading the Team?
Let me tell you a little about myself before I delve into this. I was raised in a basically normal home. My dad was a very successful entrepreneur, financial strategist, and eventually was in the top 1% of network marketers in the country.
As a child he took me with him to business meetings, planning sessions, and a variety of other 'business' type meetings. I am by no means the sharpest pencil in the box. I literally barely graduated from High School. My mother tells me that I hated Kindergarten and it went downhill from there.
But by the time I was 16 I could talk and understand conversations that were way beyond my years in business. I could carry on conversations with attorneys, CPA's, and so forth without any problem. I then went into finance and managed some vary large businesses. At one point while managing I was sued (I was served, but it was the company that was being sued). The company allowed me to go into court without an attorney. I remember the filing attorney's statement to me, "Thank you very much you have made me a very wealthy man!" In court I cleaned his clock. He was severely rebuked by the judge and walked out just as poor as he came in.
I say all of this to make this point. When the Lord was dealing with my heart to start the church I now Pastor I wanted nothing to do with it. My comments about Pastors (even though I had been in church since the age of 4) was, "If you want to talk to an insecure person, contact a Pastor."
Many Pastor's struggle building a team. It is typically because they feel like a team will diminish who they are. While in finance I came to realize that surrounding myself with qualified people made me look better. I was the manager, they weren't. If they could perform their job at peek levels it would push me up.
Many mangers have a hard time with this idea. They think if they hire someone who is better then they are they will be replaced by that person. However, the opposite is typically true. A person who has the ability to hire good people is more valuable then one good person. My office was in the top 5% of our company and at one point my my career no one was hired in our State unless I interviewed them first.
If a Pastor is truly called then they must realize that they are the one that God chose to lead the work. Surrounding yourself with qualified people will not only make your life easier it will help you fulfill the vision that God has called you to.
In order to build a healthy church you must start with a healthy leader. Once the leader is healthy they can start building a healthy leadership team, which will be dealt with in part two of this article.