Your church is likely structured, staffed, and managed for it’s current size.
This means your situation is perfectly designed for what’s now, not necessarily what’s next.
Great pastors and church leaders constantly look toward the future, knowing that the decisions made to get you this point are not necessarily the decisions that will help you reach the next milestone.
In other words, what got you here won’t get you there.
As your church grows, the pastor’s leadership must continue to grow. Here are four changes you might need to make when it comes to leading a team and leading the church.
1. Lead the leaders.
Bobby told me one of the keys for growth at The Ridge was focusing on developing and discipling a smaller number of people.
Not more leaders…fewer leaders.
Bobby realized what a lot of leaders realize: One of the secrets to healthy growth is investing in a few people who can have a far greater influence than you alone. This was the strategy of Jesus, and it still works today.
Discipleship is not a program. Leadership is not just a strategy. It’s the calling of every Christian, particularly pastors.
As your church grows, you’ll need to spend less time with everyone and more time with a few people. You’ll need to dive deep with them and really empower them to lead.
Do you have a few people on your list that get an unusual amount of your time?
2. Decentralize decision making.
In a lot of churches, the pastor has to do everything.
Print the handout, write the sermon, lead the staff, make the coffee, visit new members, lead the prayer meeting and the list goes on and on.
But it’s not just that the pastors do everything, they also decide everything.
When the senior pastor has to preach all the sermons, lead all the people and make all the decisions, it’s a recipe for disaster.
That’s not now God designed the body of Christ.
If you want your church to grow in a healthy way, push down some of the decision making to other capable people.
Don’t just look for people to do stuff; empower people to decide stuff. The “genius with a thousand helpers” model of leadership is terrible in the local church.
Are you really the only one who can decide that?
3. Do what only you can do.
Last week, I talked to a pastor in Denver who has seen God grow the church from a handful of people to about 2,500 people. We talked about church health, pastoral health, maintaining a healthy pace and honoring the sabbath.
In just a few minutes on the phone, this particular leader reminded me that God has the church in His hands and doesn’t need us to be workaholics.
Sadly, most pastors are just trying to do too much. The job descriptions and to-do lists are out of control, not because this stuff is really important, but because we’ve talked ourselves into the fact that it’s really important.
As churches grow, pastors come to specialize and do the things that they can do best. The things that are in their sweet spot, gift mix, and calling.
Make no mistake – sometimes, we have to do things we don’t want to do (every parent teaches this to their kids). But great leaders continually fight to stay as close to their sweet spot as possible.
If you want to be a better leader, you might accomplish this by doing fewer things, not more things.
Are you spending most of your time doing what only you can do?
4. Get serious.
Whenever we talk about getting organized and implementing systems, there are always comments about how we should just depend on the spirit and not be so corporate.
The church is not an organization; it’s the Body of Christ.
But because the mission of the church is so important and because so much is at stake, we should deploy every resource we have to lead well.
Of course we should pray, trust, have faith, and preach. And we should also lead, manage, and advertise.
One thing does not render the other meaningless.
As the church grows, the staff needs to get more organized. Meetings should become more consistent. Teams should prayerfully set goals and then organize themselves to meet them. Evaluation needs more time on the agenda.
In short, as churches grow, things get a little more serious. It’s a part of growing up.
It’s great that the staff likes each other, but staff meetings need to have an agenda, a purpose and a result. They aren’t hangouts.
It’s great that you can wing it, but you need to pray and plan. Don’t blame the Holy Spirit for a lack of preparation.
Are you helping the church get serious about the mission and vision?
Leadership is about managing change. As your church grows, you’re going to go through a lot of changes. Lead well.