I recently completed reading “The Power of Team Leadership” by Charles Barna. While the premise at first seemed simple and I questioned how a complete book could be written about something that appeared obvious, I was amazed at the detail and analysis provided. Mr. Barna took great time in providing a very compelling presentation of shifting from committee, business meeting driven churches to a purposed team driven ministry.
As I sat and read the first 10-15 pages, I had to resist the temptation to jump up with fist pumping in the air. His reasoning for shifting to Team Leadership were exactly the same reasons why our company exists. Our modern culture has put so much emphasis in the size and attendance of churches that our pastors have been given a huge burden. While at times unknowingly, there is an assumption that in some way a pastor that is not preaching to thousands, writing books, or traveling the national speaking circuit is a sub-standard pastor. Not only do pastors have an insurmountable task to begin with, our culture is setting an assumed standard that is all but unnattainable except in instances of anomolies.
How then can pastors effectively grow their church and reach people?
I would contend that the first step is to grow inwardly. We have relationships with numerous churches. We have seen it all, churches experiencing great growth as well as churches that are a Sunday away from closing their doors. How can their be such a dichotomy in churches supposedly preaching the same Gospel? I will save the theological argument for another post, but present a simple observation.
The churches we have seen growing and reaching people have opened the leadership tasks up to a team of humble, determined individuals. I say humble only to say that they are aware of their own shortcomings and open to what is in the best interest of the church. In other words, they put the church before their own ego. Unfortunately, the churches we have found that are stagnating often have people in leadership positions that have a stronghold on the church. These people have become blind to the best interests of the church.
I know I have only pinpointed the problem without presenting many options for fixing it. Let me present a few ideas we have had.
1. Provide opportunities for leadership by church laity. When people are given leadership tasks, they will either rise to the occassion, or find they are under-qualified.
2. Consider putting leadership teams in place to guide the church. The power of multiple people in the decision making process can really enhance the viability of that process. The old adage, two heads are better than one.
3. Recognize your own shortcomings. We all want to do it all, be involved in everything and be the best we can be. However, at times we must realize that we cannot do it all and attempting to will only bring failure. Take time to refocus your energies on the activities you do best and delegate the rest.
The ministry of your church is too important to overlook and ignore problems. We can no longer allow infighting in the church when there is a world of lost people outside. Most of which are within walking distance of your church!