I’ve deliberately written this post to senior and lead pastors of churches, because one of the things that really messes up church growth is promoting the wrong people. It’s also true in businesses as well – promoting the wrong people will destroy your business, and promoting the right people will propel it forward. So if you are a business leader, you can convert these principles. But I have deliberately penned it for pastors today.
One of the key things you need to do as the church grows is delegate your tasks and promote leaders – generally we call the key assistants “assistant pastors”. You plant a church you need to eventually appoint a regional, branch or campus pastor. Your church grows you need assistant pastors in the mother church.
Now if you delegate you empower people, and that’s awesome and that’s God’s will, but if they misuse their empowerment that will affect your church. If you are a senior leader, use this check-list to avoid promoting the wrong people. If you are a campus pastor or assistant pastor, use this list to check your own heart.
- Don’t promote people who constantly say “I told you so”. You are the leader, you are taking risks – that’s part of leadership. Some of the things you do will go wrong. But you don’t need a reverse-cheerleader telling you things have gone wrong. Anyone who is happy that things have gone wrong is a bad assistant. Replace!
- Don’t promote the people who don’t respect your wisdom. The people who are thinking “I would be a better head if I only had the chance” are not remembering that you built the building and you pay their salary with what you built. They do not want to help you, they want to help themselves.
- Be very wary of people who are unwilling to look subordinate. They want to look like you. If you have a new car, they want one. If you go and preach overseas, they want to. They don’t understand that there is a difference. He doesn’t like being an assistant, because he doesn’t really honour the lead pastor!
- Be careful of people who cannot wait to take your place. They eager to preach, they want you to travel so they can take your office for the week and make decisions it’s not their business to make.
- Beware of people who see your flaws more than they see your good qualities. Generally they will think the services are too long and you cannot preach! He will know who you have offended and have a great catalogue of all the times you messed up. But they have no such catalogue of your good times!
- Beware of assistants who obsess over how wonderful other ministers and churches are, but don’t have a good word to say about you!
- Beware of assistants who listen to a lot of preaching of other preachers but don’t ever listen to your preaching! The fact they think they have nothing to learn from you is a red danger sign!
- Bad associates are the ones who always think things should be done in a different way. They have far better ways of doing admin, of preaching, of handling people and pastoring people.
- Look out for the associates and assistants in your network who people go to with their complaints. Complaint magnets will lead to trouble. I would never let people come to me with complaints about my staff, so I don’t expect they let people come to them with complaints about me.
- Never promote the people who don’t clap, laugh and say “Amen!” when you are preaching. The people who look like cabbages and never take notes. Don’t give them leadership positions!
- Never promote the people who don’t clap, laugh and lift their hands during worship.
- Never promote to leadership people who are behind the atmosphere. If the atmosphere in the church is cheering and dancing, and they can’t break out a smile; if everyone is raising both hands and they are barely lifting one. They are not leaders! They are unimpressed with the Spirit of God – that is a danger sign!
- Never promote people who are not happy for you to be promoted. If you get given money or opportunities and they think “well I do all the donkey work around here” then that is not going to help the church!
- Never promote people who disagree with you in public. If a leader disagrees with you in public, get rid.
- Never promote people who think honouring you is indulgent. That is what Judas felt about Jesus, and you know how that ended up.
- Never promote people who don’t know whether they should be in your church. They are always changing their minds, they want to know if they are in God’s will, they are asking about where the church is going next all the time. Where as other people in the church are receiving your preaching and getting their lives transformed, they are sitting there wondering whether to quit or not.