We live in a culture that trains us to think of problems as “our problems.” As pastors, too often, we think that we must figure out how to grow the church, make sure the budget is balanced, and ensure that programs are well attended. I certainly did. Many of my colleagues feel the same way. It is a heavy burden to bear.
Do your congregation’s leaders talk about getting boomer retirees more involved? If not, you are just standing by while millions of our neighbors retire.
Almost every congregational staff calls itself a team. But are they really teams? In many, perhaps most cases, staffs have hierarchical leadership with staff members working in “silos.” When this is the case, they are not teams. What are some key characteristics that reveal whether or not a staff is a team?
Transforming the culture of a toxic team is hard work, and it begins with looking at the team’s behavioral norms.
As an advocate for using teams to carry out the work of a congregation and for eliminating as many committees as possible, I often get phone calls like this: “John, we read your book and decided to move from a committee-driven to a team-driven organization. But it hasn’t gone smoothly!” If I or other advocates of teams created the impression that moving to teams is an easy transition, I apologize. The change to teams is not easy, but it’s necessary.
Many congregations think the answer to their problems is a superstar—a charismatic senior pastor, a superb musician, or a Pied Piper youth director. Research on teams reveals a deep flaw in such thinking, and congregational leaders are well advised to pay attention to the data.
One good way to make things happen is to organize a team. At their best, teams benefit from members’ varied strengths and reach results no one imagined in advance. But what makes a team effective? A lot has been written about teams—by John Wimberly and George Cladis among others—and I don’t mean to replace or duplicate their work. Instead I want to share a simplified approach to that has been useful to me in building teams, and to my coaching and consulting clients. You may find it useful, too!