Sadly many churches have experienced splits due to a coup. A coup is where a group of people take authority that was never theirs in the first place. Some pastors are so afraid of this kind of thing they never raise leaders, hate small groups and centralize everything and control everything! That is not the approach. Your mandate as a pastor is to bear fruit and equip the saints to do the work of ministry! If you are the lead pastor of a church, here are 4 keys to ensuring you don’t have a coup that don’t involve never raising leaders, and don’t involve being controlling!
- Let everyone know that you are in charge, and more importantly, know that you are in charge yourself. The sad truth is that there are many people looking to take advantage of weak leadership, and possibly more so in the church than anywhere. Assistant pastors will dominate you, deacons will capitalize on your lack of self-confidence, and elders will happily make all the decision for you. You need to be like Paul who was happy to say “Paul, an apostle…” – you need to be certain in your calling. You may be raising leaders, but that doesn’t diminish your leadership in the church and you are not raising them to lead you! Know that you are not in charge of people’s private lives, but you are the visionary in charge of the direction the church is going.
- Let people know they are very important, precious even. But never let anyone be deluded into thinking they are indispensable. Let people know that you are not afraid of them or any threat they may make. They need to realize that they are honoured to be at your side, and must keep their rank by not exceeding their boundaries. Your associates should never feel that they are the ones holding the church together! Some people will try and control you by letting you think that they will tear the whole ministry apart – they should not be in power in your church! People who see themselves as an equal head with you are dangerous! Two headed creatures are freaks of nature, not healthy creatures!
- Make the Dream Plain. Everyone should know where you are going and why. Everyone should know that you are building what you are building and what the blueprint is. If you are building a mega-church, let people know upfront that is the plan and why the plan is so important. The clearer the dream the easier it is to walk together. When the dream is not plain, when the vision is secret, when the direction is not made plain, people will tire of following you and when someone turns up with an easier plan they will follow them. Imagine trying to move a wardrobe with three other people but no-one is sure why or where exactly you are taking it – that is most churches and you will soon put your corner down and do something else unless someone is showing you the way forward and the reason for the move.
- Tell people what you expect from them. The head is not respected when people have undefined roles in the church. Let your leaders know what you want them to do. Let your people know what you are up to, and what you want them to be up to. Make sure everyone knows their place. Don’t let people take charge of other things just because you put them in charge of one thing. If people do not have specific duties, then there is zero way of making people accountable.
- Praise all your leaders publicly as often as you can. Public praise is the easiest way to ensure the repetition of good behaviour. It also creates a culture of loyalty.
- Never correct your leaders publicly. It is difficult to lead others when you have been told off in front of them. I have never let a boss do that to me, although in both retail and education, some have wanted to. It is a bad practice, and should never be done. Public criticism is very degrading. Make sure your criticism is constructive, not destructive, and deliver it one on one.
- Take responsibility. Don’t be Adam – it was the wife. Or Saul – it was the people. You are the head. If someone messes up on your watch, it’s your watch so take ownership of the mess and get it tidied and make it right with the people who were hurt. If you want the honour of being the senior pastor, you MUST accept the blame!
- Realize your leaders are the most important people in your church. Don’t blow out an appointment with them for Mrs Smith and her thousand problems which she simply must share! Your leaders will make or break your ministry.
In order to bear much fruit, you have to raise leaders. You do not have to do it at the expense of your dream and your ministry. These steps will help you lead your team well.