Article by Mat Redding
What does it take to end up with a team of dedicated, thriving church leaders around you? Christian Leadership with vision and drive but investing in the greater vision of the team. Investment and time. Ministry coaching. Lots of each. It begins with a core team, just a few key people with whom we spend the most time, investing ourselves into them. Their growth, development and wholeness are a big priority for us, not just their ability to serve or to deliver.
It’s important not to pick people for our core team who are like us. That might feel comfortable, but we need people with different skills, abilities and ways of thinking. They will fill in gaps which we cannot fill, and we will cover them similarly. Instead of yes-men we need critical thinkers, and it is one of our roles to foster an environment where questions are asked, not avoided. A place where it is safe to not agree, but still act together.
It’s in this core team that our culture is birthed, and along with the unity which begins there, it will then be deliberately permeated through the whole organisation. The core values which are practised regularly at this level are then modelled for all.
There is then a larger group of leaders who make things happen, and each of them needs to be mentored by the core team, intentionally disseminating the culture, core values and practices which are desired for the whole. The same model of investing time and resources into people are applied again. This wider leadership team then, in turn, mentor others.
This is a concentric model, and was used by Jesus effectively. His disciples later invested in, and trained, leaders who went on to pour into others. All Christians today benefit from this legacy, and the more intentionally we apply it the greater the outcome will be.
Who do we look for when building a team, and what attributes are desirable? There are three qualities which are indispensable in leaders who will take a vision and run with it: being faithful, available and teachable. FAT! Where these three things coincide in a person, they are prime candidates for our team, and we need to teach our leaders to look for the same qualities when recruiting people to their own teams. Along with these basics we will be looking for people with some level of skill, awareness, character and health which stand out above the average person. We want to raise them up, in turn, to lead others, in the measure to which they have been developed. As we mentor and grow them, we will release them into increased responsibility, eventually to recruit their own trainees, replicating the development they have received.
Having clearly defined expectations is very important, and these expectations cannot be one-sided. They also have to be modelled at all levels, not just with new leaders. Consistency has to remain a core-value, along with the expectation of continuous personal growth. The destiny of the organisation is dependant on it, and developing people to reach their own destiny is important, but nevertheless subservient to the whole.
Consistency on a personal level, integrity in other words, is what will build trust and respect in those around you, but make sure it’s genuine and deep. It is easy for leaders to become distanced from their teams, and present a veneer. Bright and shiny, but lacking depth, and when it’s chipped away, leaving a cheaper material underneath. Your own solid-oak honesty is what’s required to lead effectively. This doesn’t mean you can’t make mistakes or be unsure of something, but it does mean you have to own them and be committed to work through issues. Know what you stand for, express it clearly and regularly, and you’ve taken the most important step in building culture and core values throughout your organisation.