Launching with a Leadership Team

It’s the invisible necessity of missional communities. It’s a pipeline for current and future leaders. It’s what makes missional communities possible.

It’s a small group of  leaders (4-8) being discipled together by their huddle leader, usually as they lead a missional community together. “Huddle” is the term that 3DM uses, but I just call it a leadership team. It is a safe place where leaders can be challenged in their walk with Jesus. It’s is where leaders are poured into. I didn’t say that this is where I do leadership development. I do that. But it’s about helping them become closer followers of Jesus, not just leaders.

In a few weeks, we’ll be launching a new Everyday Group (or EG, our name for Missional Communities) that is focused on championing creativity in our neighborhood. As the future group leader, I started by recruiting a special leadership team. We have been meeting about every other week for the past 4 months to grow as disciples, clarify the vision, and try out the mission before inviting others to join us. Once we launch and invite others to join us as a legit Everyday Group, we’ll have a number of leaders ready to lead and disciple the group. When I think of trying to launch a group with 20 people on board (the minimum amount of people needed to start EG), I don’t know how I would have done it without starting with a leadership team.
(Actually, all of this sounds exactly like what you do when you plant a church: Find a planter, build the launch team, pour the vision into them, make sure all of the bases are covered, and launch a public service)

Here are the halmarks of a leadership team for me:

1) Relationship. The EG leader recruits everyone personally. There is an on-going relationship that will deepen as the team grows together. We share deep, often personal stuff with one another, so committed relationship is key.

2) Intentionality.  The team focuses both on launching/leading an Everyday Group as leaders and on each person’s walk with Jesus. Both of these must have equal weight. It is easy to fall into just one, but both are desperately needed. (This way of thinking is known as “invitation and challenge.” 3Dm has a great article where can learn more about it here)

3) Community. The team is leading together. As a team, they can share celebrations and challenges together that they wouldn’t be able to share with others in their group. These celebrations/challenges could be focused on leadership or on discipleship.

4) Process. The team provides a place where leaders can process both what God is doing in their personal lives and what God is doing in the MC they lead. The MC is the place where anyone in the church can receive training, “trying out” living for Jesus. The primary questions we ask in our leadership team meetings is: What is God saying to you right now? and What are you going to do about it? Both of those questions deal with leadership & discipleship issues and deserve a space for processing.

If launching a new Everyday Group were all up to me, it would mostly likely fail. But with a solid leadership teamin place, I am extremely expectant to what God will do through us. And beyond this group, I look forward to when those who are on the team today will be leading their own teams to launch their own EGs in the future.

Advertisements
Launching with a Leadership Team

Planting With a Balanced Team

Finding the right lead planter is extremely important. But it’s not everything.

Community Christian Church planted by two brothers, Dave and Jon Ferguson. Both of them could probably have planted their own churches individually and been successful. Instead they planted CCC together, and it has become a church that is changing thousands of lives in the Chicagoland area and has great influence in the church planting world. Dave & Jon are different kind of people, and I think it was a huge part of why they were so successful.

Having a balanced team is key. There’s a wealth of information out there, but here are few things I think about:

1) Spiritual Gifting. We often make sure to have a lead/teaching pastor, arts pastor, children’s pastor & community life pastor. However, these are roles, not spiritual gifts. Instead I would point toward the gift of leadership and the gifts specified in Ephesians 4 (APEPT).

2) Introvert/Extrovert. I have been the lone introvert on a team before. It was painful personally and productively. Most church planting teams are heavy on extroverts. Make sure you have introverts who will slow extroverts down and extroverts who will push introverts ahead.

3) Builder/Maintainer. There are couple of dynamics with this. Some love to almost always build while others love to almost always maintain. However, some maintainers love short seasons of building and some builders love short seasons of maintaining. The builder/maintainer mentality often fits with introvert/extrovert, but not all the time. Finding the dynamics of those on your team will help them work at their best.

4) Shared Vision. From my experience, church planting teams are often assembled to accomplish the lead pastor’s vision. If you’re the lead planter you should be the champion of the vision, don’t just hire employees, hire team members who can have a real say in the vision. Here’s where I think the value of a shared vision breaks down – we need to get things done! And the easiest way to do so is to make a hire for a position without making sure they share the vision.

You may even find a leader who shares the vision, but doesn’t fit into any position you have available. That’s what happened to me at Everyday Church. The rest of the team recognized that I was a gifted leader who shared the vision, but I didn’t exactly fit the needed position of worship pastor. Now, I had never led worship before, but I had built and led teams before. And I happen to play decent rhythm guitar. So, even though it wasn’t my biggest passion, I built a small worship team. We never had a drum set, electric guitar, bass, or laser lights. We had a guitar, some singers and maybe a piano or small drum. It was simple. Eventually, a leader who both shared the vision AND is musically trained came along. Currently, we’re creating a great worship band together.

Here’s what could have happened: I was passed over, because I didn’t exactly fit the needed position. A gifted worship leader was hired who didn’t necessarily share the vision. When the worship service started, it immediately had an awesome worship band. But after a year, the worship leader became extremely disgruntled with the vision of the church and decided to leave. Now the church is back to needing a worship leader, except now there’s a whole team to lead and an expectation for the church to have an awesome band.

Take your time. Instead of quickly having an amazing children’s program, you may need to pay someone a stipend to lead a simple program for a while. Instead of having an awesome worship band right away, go with a guy/gal and a guitar or piano. Wait until you have the right leader who shares the vision and can eventually build a great ministry. Beyond just sharing the vision, they need to be able to speak into the vision, but that’s a topic for another post!

There’s a lot that could be said about having a balanced team. If your team is out of balance, name it and deal with it! What has been your experience on a church planting team? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Planting With a Balanced Team