Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Future Trends 2: Team Leadership

The second trend that I believe will shape the future of the church is team leadership. For too long, all of the leadership responsibility has been placed solely on the senior pastor. Not only are the expectations outrageous for the senior pastor, but the demands of the day to day job are extremely stressful. Many men can thrive in that kind of situation, but my observation is that many cannot. Instead of placing sole leadership responsibility on the shoulders of the senior pastor, I believe that the church of the future will be led by teams. Now, I understand the need for a directional leader. I think that there has to be someone responsible for the vision and direction of the church as a whole. Somebody has to make sure that everyone is playing on the same team and moving the same direction. But how does that person relate and function within the structure of the leadership? Instead of making him the one untouchable, it seems to me that more and more churches will move toward a team leadership model. In this model, each team member should serve according to their natural abilities, their spiritual gifts, and their calling. I think we have a major problem in many churches that I have observed when people serve in positions they are not gifted or called to serve in. How does this happen and how can it be fixed?

First, everyone needs to know their own personal design. How has God put them together? If people could be honest about their own strengths and weaknesses, then we could begin to put teams together that would complementary of each other and not contradictory. We need strong teams of leaders in the local church who know who they are and also know who they are not. "Knowing who I am not" is maybe the most important thing that most people in leadership today struggle with. If I know what I am not good at and what I am not called to do, then I can freely and humbly put people around me who are gifted and called in those areas. These teams of leaders can then function at a level beyond the old 'senior pastor' model.

Second, roles needs to be clearly defined. I think teams struggle because people on the team don't know what their responsibility is on the team. Instead of hoping that everything will fall into place, hard discussions need to happen that will help shape the operation and design of the team. The original team members need to make sure they know where they are lacking and begin to invest in people who can feel those gaps. In fact, it is imperative that people in the team leadership model are continuing to invest in young leaders and train them up for future leadership in the church.

Third, as can clearly be seen above, the team needs to have mutual respect and accountability among itself. The team leadership model will only succeed if team members have enough trust among themselves to really say what needs to be said to each other. The team leadership model will only succeed when team members open up their lives to one another and are truly mutually accountable to one another. This must be modeled first by the directional leader so that all others on the team will understand the need to hold each other to a high standard of morality and excellence in their lives. The leadership team must model among themselves the same behavior they hope to see develop among the lay people.

I believe this team leadership model is powerful and sure to be a future trend in many churches.

1 comment:

tim horton said...

I totally agree in this being an extremely more practical method of running a church: why heap everything on one man when simple weight distribution can increase the effectiveness of a church. And it makes sense for everyone to know their own strengths before hand, so that each can play off the others strengths and weaknesses. What better place for an example of a biblical model of the body of Christ working together for His glory than in the staff of His church. Constant communication is also a must, but the problem I see lies in the third point, which I accredit to the evil of us as men. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. And what better place is this an exapmle than in the stressful environment of the church. In order for this system to work, a senior pastor must be mature enough in his faith to lay down some of the pride of being "the go to man" in order to share some of the responsibilities with his staff. And likewise, the staff can not become power hungry with their new found tasks, because the minute distrust is thrown into the system, it collapses on itself.