Leading during a global pandemic can present new challenges—and a new pace in which you’re accomplishing your mission.
What would your team want you to know during this season?
We recently saw a similar question asked in an online ministry forum— “What do you wish your lead pastor knew or did to help you?”
If you’re not a lead pastor, how would you answer the question? Write it down, and then consider taking that topic to your leader to discuss.
If you are a lead pastor, read the six things your team may want you to know during this season. Or, better yet, ask your team what they need from you as they navigate ministry, family, and other areas of stress you may not know about.
6 Things Your Team Wishes You Knew
1. Last minute changes take a toll.
Things are changing quickly which means your team may have to shift direction or condense timelines. Sometimes the reward is worth the extra effort, but short deadlines and last minute requests can take a toll on the mental, emotional, and spiritual health of those we work with. If your team is constantly working down to the wire, how can you help them free up margin? How early can you start thinking about the things that involve significant input from others? Can you move up your process to allow some breathing room for your team? We all still have room to learn and grow in our leadership, and there are so many time-management tools out there that can help each of us grow and support our teams better.
2. Lead us by example.
As a leader, we can never forget that our lives are under a microscope. Attenders, co-workers, and strangers are always watching us and learning from the way we’re living our lives. Things are often caught, not taught. If you want your team to value things that are important to your church, you must live them out. If you value receiving feedback, ask for feedback and respond graciously when your team gives feedback. If you value family time, model what it looks like to lead at work and at home well. Care about the lost? Let your team see you out in the community inviting people to church. Ask yourself: what do I say I care about that I’m not modeling well?
Motivating Your Team
3. Honor our willingness to be flexible.
Last minute changes are always a reality in ministry. When working out ideas, creating strategies, or planning events, help your team remember that plans and strategies and focuses are always subject to shift as you take steps forward in the process.
But, be careful—are you asking your team to be flexible because there are too many unknowns to make a decision? Or, do you ask them to be flexible because you’re unprepared? Sit down with your team to discuss your processes to discover if you’ve been asking for flexibility when you really need to just make a quicker decision.
4. Trust us.
A phrase we say often at Life.Church is this: “Trust is given, mistrust is earned.” Pastor Craig Groeschel wrote this on Facebook, and it sums this concept up the best:
“It’s a common idea that trust must be earned. But here is a different perspective. We give trust, because we believe we hire the best. It is mistrust, therefore, that is earned.”
Let your team feel your trust in them! Allow your team to make more decisions, invite someone on your team to preach, or simply talk one of your team members up to his/her spouse. Show them how much you trust them and love building the Kingdom alongside them!
5. Lead us toward excellence, not perfection.
While ministry requires flexibility, we must also recognize that pursuing excellence should be a top priority as well–because eternities are at stake! But, we can’t be perfect. If you lead your team toward perfection, they’ll be afraid to fail. When you lead toward excellence, they’ll embrace progress over perfection, which will lead to excellence in your ministry as they continue to innovate. Help us embrace failure and don’t forget to celebrate those wins!
6. Creativity and innovation take time.
Whether we’re trying something new or tweaking something we already do, innovation is often a process that includes trial and error. When seeking creative solutions, try to schedule time for brainstorming and bring the appropriate teammates into the mix. Be clear with the vision you have, and try not to jump directly to the solution. Present the problem and allow your team to speak into possible solutions. Also, be careful not to rush into new ideas because they work for another church. Just because something works for another church, doesn’t mean it will work in your context—you have great team members around you who can help you process the problem and come up with a solution that works well for your community.
If you’re a senior pastor or are serving in a leadership role at your church, we hope these ideas can help you to sharpen your leadership and start some great conversations with your team in the weeks to come.
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