Building A Solid Church Leadership Team - Part II
Putting the Team Together Right
In part one we dealt specifically with the leader of the church. In most cases this individual is referred to as the Pastor. One of my most common sayings is this, "The greatest strength a person can have is to know their weaknesses."
If you know your weaknesses then you can pull people around you who possess strengths in your weak areas. This will make you a stronger leader. Of course, we are all going to make mistakes, but the key is to learn from our mistakes.
A mistake that I had early on in ministry is that I had a couple come into our church who possessed some great talents. Their talents just happened to be in my areas of weakness. So I did what most people would do, I latched on to them. The error that I made was that I focused on their strengths and didn't pay any attention to their weaknesses. In the end I took people who were not mature enough to be leaders and made them leaders. In the end it not only hurt them, but hurt me and the church body as well. While I have recovered and learned from my error this family is still wandering around in an unstable way when they could really become an asset to a body of believers. Thank the Lord for His goodness in forgiving us!
The Bible tells us (Proverbs 24:16) that a just man falls seven times but he rises again. It really is not so important whether we make mistakes or not, because we all will from time to time. The key is whether we will learn from them by getting up and pressing forward again. Mistakes are never final unless you refuse to learn from them or stop getting up.
Learn to Accept Personal Accountability
In order to build a solid team a great leader must always look in the mirror first before assigning blame. Great leaders should have enough self-confidence to admit their weaknesses and when they make a mistake.
Therefore, when building a solid team you want people who have the self-confidence to admit when they make a mistake and are able to tell you, "I don't know how to do that!." A person who refuses to accept personal responsibility and is always shifting to the blame to something else will be a liability instead of an asset to a strong leadership team.
I personally know a Pastor who, through his advice, put another family into bankruptcy. The man knew nothing of business and gave the family some very poor advise. Instead of simply stating, "That is not my area of expertise" he had to look like he "knew it all." This is dangerous to have people on your team who will have influence over the people of your church.
Develop Other People
If you truly want to know what a leader is like look at those they have developed. I grew up in a church that I attended from the age of four until my late twenties. This church had never developed one person for ministry outside of the local congregation. I can kick myself for not seeing the inadequacies of this church sooner.
It is not so important what the leader can do, but what the leader can empower his team to do. People typically do what they have been taught to do. They typically function in the authority they have been given. Can members of your team take a problem, challenge, or goal and see it through to completion? If not, you may need to look at yourself again. Have you properly trained people under you?
When building a ministry team the Pastor does not have the time, energy, or resources to have to "re-teach" leaders. Therefore, the training must be done correctly the first time. This is why it is so critical to recruit the right people. Those who lack character, dependability, and loyalty will not learn this later in life. Get the right person up front!
Many Pastors look at other churches and say to themselves, "If I had the quality of leaders that Pastor has I could have a church like theirs." Leaders are typically developed. When you look at an organization that is ran efficiently it didn't just happen because the right people came along. It happened because someone took the time to build it. A good story in the Bible is when David was in a cave and a bunch of people who became his army came to him. They were all broke, depressed, and messed up but David made a powerful army out of them.
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Turning the Tide on Problems
You may have already noticed that if you are alive you are going to face problems. Any time you "organize" where there is more than one person involved you are going to encounter problems.
Your leadership should be an asset to your church not a liability. What typically happens is that Pastors recruit inexperienced or immature leaders that have not been taught and trained and then wonder why they are always frustrated.
Staff should not be creating challenges for their leaders. Challenges flow down hill not up hill. Our leaders should be problem solvers not problem creators. Leaders are visionary, thus what they want to do is typically problematic for the organization at it's current level of operation. These challenges should be addressed by the managers of the organization. It is their responsibility to solve the problem so that the leaders vision will come into being.
Good Leaders Influence Not Control
Managers control, but leaders influence. When you have a leadership team you want to allow your leaders to step out and creatively bring the vision to pass. Many Pastors are micro-managers. This not only frustrates the Pastor but it limits the gifts and talents of the team that has been assembled.
Will their be mistakes? Will someone do something differently then you? Of course, but that is not a bad thing it's a good thing. Learning to allow your leaders to lead makes the team work more efficiently.
One of the great secrets that few ever learn is that performance improves in direct proportion to a leaders ability to influence thinking instead of controlling behavior.
A couple of the most common question in the minds of people are whether or not they can personally succeed and the old proverbial question of "what's in it for me." A great leader will influence the thoughts of those they lead in these two critical areas.
There is a lot to think about and plan for while one is building a solid leadership team that will produce a healthy church. In part three I will continue with some of the most critical areas of success and where many make the most mistakes in developing people.