Potential Problems to Watch for in Team Ministry
1. Forgetting we are a team. Be careful to not speak as an individual without consideration of the team. When leadership speaks out publicly, he speaks for the team. For example, “I don’t believe in Christmas trees – that’s idolatry.” A team’s leader must express his opinions carefully if his views are not held by the senior leadership of the church.
2. Poor counsel causes harm and spreads faster than good counsel. Here is an example of poor counsel: “He told me to go home and tell her that I’m the head of the home and she had better do as she is told…and she left me!”
3. Don’t ignore problems among team members. Nip them in the bud. If they are not dealt with they will destroy the morale of the team and change a winning team into a losing team!
4. Guard against jealousy and political infighting. James and John asked Jesus if one of them could sit on His left hand and the other on the right hand. “When the ten heard about it they were moved with indignation against the two brothers” (Matthew 20:24). Jesus had to deal with this swiftly, and you must too.
5. You must be confident in the integrity and judgment of the senior leader. The most important thing is the people. A person may be happy with his position, but if the people are groaning under his leadership. The first responsibility is to the people, not the leader. You might have to say, “Look, this is just not the best fit for you. You can function better in another area.”
6. We all must recognize our limitations in leadership. In Exodus 18, there were rulers of 10s, 50s, 100s and 1,000s—all were rulers. There are different levels of leadership. Some can handle 50 better than 100. The problem is when people say, “Well, we are all leaders; we’re all equal...I should preach more on Sunday mornings.” But the reality is not all are equal in their gifts. Some are not anointed to hold 500 people.
7. Allow for mistakes unless it’s consistent. Don’t jump on them every time or they become gun shy and lose confidence, and then motivation.
8. Respect your own chain of command. Don’t allow people to go around the leaders you have put in place and come directly to you with their problems about that leader and his area of ministry. Ask them first if they have talked to their direct leader. If not, send them back to address the issue.
Problems will arise, but how we address them will be the difference between success and failure. Avoiding potential problems and dealing with them before they get out of control will be essential for developing a solid leadership team.
Yours for the Miracle of Teamwork,
Dr George Hill
President and Founder of Victory Churches International