Archives for : Team Work


I am really not sure where I heard it first, but it is true, “Team means that together everyone accomplishes more.”  I Corinthians 12:18-22 says, “But now God has placed each one of the parts in one body just as He wanted.   And if they were all the same part, where would the body be?  Now there are many parts, yet one body. So the eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” Or again, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”  But even more, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are necessary.”  

God never intended for His children to have to stand alone, work alone, or serve alone.  All of us have different gift sets and we need the input, wisdom, and life experiences of others at the table – especially in the area of leadership.  God designed us for the structure of His local church to realize that the sum is much greater than the parts.  Unfortunately, we seem to gravitate and default toward what is easiest.  Building a team and developing leaders is hard work and at times very disappointing but it is worth the time and effort.  Check out Ephesians 4:12-13.

In The Unstuck Church, Tony Morgan says, “My experience confirms that churches that empower volunteers to do ministry are healthier than those that don’t.”  He challenges us to realize that pride can cause us to fall into the “I can do it better” trap.  Jesus certainly could have done it better than His disciples but He still chose to equip, train, and give the ministry away to them.  Tony continues, “It’s harder to find people, train them, coach them, and check up on them.  In other words, we’re basically admitting we’d rather not do the hard work that could ultimately lead to better results.”

God designed us to work as a team and that means we should focus on humbling ourselves, realizing how dependent we are on God, and how dependent we should also be on one another. That means we value the input of others who have humbled themselves and are walking with the Lord.  Tony Morgan also states, “With that direction from Scripture (Eph. 4:12-13), there’s really no room for I can do it better.  In order for me to do what God is calling me to do, I have to equip God’s people to do His work.  They can do it better.”

Just like in baseball we need to think ”farm system” more than we practice “free agency.”  There are three things we need to have in place to have a healthy farm system for developing potential leaders in our churches.  In a farm system potential big league ball players are given the opportunity to practice their skills over and over again.  Every day players are fielding thousands of ground balls and catching fly balls, stepping into the batting cage for hundreds of pitches, and daily being coached on how to become a better baseball player. 

There are three things we need to have in place to have a healthy farm system for developing potential leaders in our churches.  

  1. IDENTIFY potential leaders.  Leaders in the church must always be “scouting” for potential leaders and know what they are looking for.  We seem to be looking regularly outside our churches for leaders but we need to refocus on those God gives us out of our harvest.  We should always be looking for young men such as Timothy in the scriptures that God brings our way to mentor.
  2. INVEST in potential leaders. There must be a process in place where they can receive what they need to properly equip them for leadership. They must be trained in the message (how to handle the gospel and to have a strong theological foundation), the mission (applying the gospel to their context), and the ministry (putting into practice what they have learned).  A healthy church will plan and implement a process to multiply disciples, multiply leaders, and reproduce themselves through multiplying churches. 
  3. INITIATE potential leaders. There must be entry level places of service and ministry and God has given us the perfect track for coaching them in the skills needed for leadership; “Go and make disciples!” They need to be taught to make disciples and should not be given leadership responsibilities unless they are making disciples.  There must be “on the job” training opportunities where interns and apprentices can put into practice the skills they will use; whether beginning small groups, missional communities, or planting churches.

InBe Fruitful and MultiplyBob Logan says “The number one limiting factor in reaching the harvest is leadership. The future of the church is in its leaders. Any church multiplication movement that wants to multiply churches must also find a way to multiply leaders, for it will quickly run out of existing, ready-to-go leaders. Creating solid, reproducible methods for raising up indigenous leaders from the harvest will feed and sustain a church multiplication movement.” We must focusthe next required steps for developing the team God desires us to have.

In this journey remember that all leaders must embrace the responsibility for leadership multiplication! 
Just as all disciples of Jesus ought to be disciple-makers; so all leaders ought to be 
mentoring leaders. 
Spiritual leaders are developed over a lifetime and learning to lead doesn’t happen in the classroom, but in the context of ministry.  What will you do intentionally to build your team knowing that if you want more out of your team you must invest more into your team? 

I Corinthians 12:4-7states, “Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit.  There are different ministries, but the same Lord.  And there are different activities, but the same God activates each gift in each person. A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial:”

Creating Buy-in!!!


Allow me to say it again. For the dream to work the team must work. The emphasis is not about team effort as much as it is about chemistry and cooperation. It is hard work to build a team that can work as one unit and it requires even more effort to keep it that way. You must communicate where you are going, why you are going there, and how you will make the trip.

In The Disciple Making Pastor Bill Hull says, “Any system for church organization that allows the unspiritual and disobedient to dictate is wrong.” Strong words but this truth cannot be ignored. How will you handle conflict, especially, if it is in a leadership position? What will you do when there is a vision clash that challenges team harmony and threatens to derail the mission of your church? Expect there to be opposition and know that you will never be able to make everyone happy.

One of the first steps in understanding team dynamics is to realize that everyone has a primary voice they speak from. In 5 Voices: How to Communicate Effectively with Everyone you Lead Jeremie Kubick and Steve Cockram cover in depth what these 5 different voice look like. We will look at them briefly asking, “What is my primary and secondary voice?” All 5 voices are valuable and contribute to the team.

First, are the nurturers! They are always concerned about other people’s feelings and work hard at making everyone know they are valued. They are very compassionate and often have a very large dose of mercy. They are great listeners and will fight for the highest possible good in others. Their temptation is to be very slow about getting on board with an idea because they want to make sure everyone on the team is in agreement before they will commit.

Second, are the guardians! These individuals are always watching the core values of the church very closely. They are protectors and stewards of the church’s traditions, resources, and what they believe to be the established paths already determined by the church. They ask the hard questions that need to be asked. Their temptation can be to allow traditions to become traditionalism where legalism can place the traditions over the word of God. Remember, their voice is needed!

Third, are the creatives! They have great ideas and love to think outside of the box. They give perspective from a unique angle that many will never think of. They love to challenge the status quo and often ask, “why not?” They really do not understand why others may struggle with their concepts believing from their heart that their idea is a great idea. Their temptation is to “always” have a better idea. They believe so strongly in their ideas that they may struggle listening to others.

Fourth, are the connectors! They enjoy networking and getting everyone in the right seat on the bus. With a good understanding of the team concept they busy themselves in helping everyone to see their role on the team. They move quickly and easily in a group but will sometimes struggle in slowing down enough to get to know the people on their team well. Their temptation is to overly focus on the group and not focus enough on individual’s relationships.

Fifth, are the pioneers! They are forward thinkers and blaze new trails. The pioneer is very comfortable with problem solving and making tough decisions. They are risk takers and if it has never been done before they believe that is exactly why it should be attempted. They have the courage to make difficult decisions and communicate an attractive vision of the future. Their temptation is to not give everyone’s view a fair listening because their mind is already made up.

Creating buy-in comes from listening to everyone on the team and how you communicate to different team members. There are basically five responses that are common to your leadership and vision. There are the innovators, the early adopters, the middle adopters, the late adopters, and unfortunately, the never adopters. How you speak to each one of these groups is crucial and you must have realistic expectations for each group.

  1. The innovators are looking for involvement! They want to know how they can help and are ready to get started right away. You should immediately look for ways they can be directly involved.
  2. The early adopters are looking for support! They may not be directly involved but they love to champion the cause. Their support is an active endorsement and you know they are on board with the direction God is leading you.
  3. The middle adopters will give their acceptance. Their support is more of a passive endorsement but remember they are not against you. When your team has agreed upon the direction of the ministry and the next steps required they are ok with it.
  4. The late adopters will hopefully tolerate your decision. You are not expecting their buy-in but you are asking their commitment to withhold negative comments until there has been adequate time to give it a try.
  5. There is not much you can do with the never adopters! Listen to Bill Hull again from The Disciple Making Pastor, “Sadly, many church problems find their origin in the immature and selfish agendas of church leaders. Commonly, the hardest group to get along with in the entire church is the leaders. They often are argumentative, close-minded, power hungry, and dedicated to keeping a firm hold on their territory. Once the church’s core becomes corrupt, you have almost no chance of renewal.”

Healthy churches seek a team leadership approach where everyone’s voice is valued and heard.   They move forward with those who are ready to get on board while understanding some need more time before they are ready!

Shared Leadership



What is the primary role of the lead pastor? Unrealistic expectations by many congregations can lead to much misunderstanding and great disappointment. There are misconceptions on both sides of the issue. The congregation may feel that the pastor is there to care for their every need and serve the congregation. The pastor believes he is there to primarily preach the word and pray. When there is such a great disparity of perspective you can almost guarantee an eventual confrontation, congregational uprising, or a pastor becoming discouraged and leaving a church way too early.

People need to be cared for, but who has that role as their primary responsibility? The pastor is to deliver the word of God correctly and be a man of prayer – but is that his primary assignment? Is it wisdom for the pastor to announce to the membership that he is there to “serve” them? Has your church clearly defined the role and expectations of the pastor and membership according to the scriptures? Every member of a local church is to serve and to be a minister. While the importance of preaching can never be overstated, discipleship and leadership development is even more important.

The worship service is important but it is not the end in itself. It is the first step in the process. Yes, Jesus preached, but you see Him pouring into the disciples as He leads them through a “come and see” to a “come and be with me” process. The majority of His time (at least 20-24 months) was spent giving the twelve specialized training preparing them to carry on the ministry without Him. Jesus was focused on leadership development and He valued shared leadership by modeling how to reproduce not just followers, but also leaders.

Allow me to suggest that the primary role of the lead pastor is to train leaders to do the work of the ministry. Ephesians 4:11-12 makes it clear, “And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the training of the saints in the work of the ministry, to build up the body of Christ.” Bill Hull stresses the importance of this passage by saying, “The pastor, singular, implies that one person is equipped to meet the needs of the entire flock. This simply is not true.” We must believe and practice the priesthood of every believer.

The pastor needs to see his primary role as preparing people for works of service. One example would be pastoral care. We see in Acts 6 that the people were not happy that some of their needs were not being cared for properly. The solution was not for the leaders to work harder or put in more hours. The answer was to get help from others who could help minister to the needs. It is not the responsibility of the pastor to care for everyone but it is his responsibility to make sure everyone is cared for. The real leadership task is to get the body functioning correctly through training.

The lead pastor must focus his effort and attention to intentionally being committed to reproduction of mature fully functioning followers of Jesus. Your top priority is not preacher but, rather, to be a teacher, trainer, and equipper of more leaders. The only way for any church to experience the multiplication of ministry, as it was meant to be, is through the preparation and participation of every member.

In The Disciple Making Pastor, Bill Hull says, “In the Ephesians (4) text Paul uses katartizo as the primary task of the leadership to bring about corporate maturity. This text presents the only methodology that guarantees corporate maturity. The prescribed means to maturity is the lead pastor’s dedication to preparation of people for deployment into ministry. To ignore this is tantamount to disobedience.” The passage develops this process: prepare God’s people, the preparation and proper training will build them up, and that is how the body will grow up and be mature.

He also says this about Ephesians 4, “Instead of pouring energy into the clear formula for effectiveness, the church has chosen to worship this text rather than obey it…..If applied, this text’s principles unlock the key to corporate maturity, effective evangelism, and a self-perpetuating growth.” Ephesians 4:16 makes this clear, “From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.” Pastors must mobilize the congregation toward this goal.

What is meant by “shared” leadership?

  1. The biblical description of pastor does not mean that he is to do all of the work of the ministry.
  2. Every member needs to work and be involved in ministry. Notice in Ephesians 4:16 that it says, “every supporting ligament” and “the proper working of each individual part.”
  3. Preaching is important but you must also be focused on developing leaders who develop other leaders.
  4. To properly pastor any church it will require the combined gifts, wisdom, and faith of a team of godly leaders and team members.
  5. Bill Hull reminds us that, “No one person has the time, energy, or gifts to pastor a church and do it right.”
  6. If you want more out of our team then you must put more into your team. This will require an intentional plan to develop leaders.  Always be looking for those who want to go deeper and desire to do more.
  7. Don’t be guilty of understanding Ephesians 4, agreeing with its truth, but not carrying out and following through on its teachings. The truth is that the work of the ministry is to be done through shared leadership and responsibilities.

Healthy churches teach that every member is a minister and trains every member to do the work of the ministry!