I've been blessed to work with come of the greatest "second-chair" leaders around. In Houston, Dallas, and now Escondido, my ministry has been so much more rewarding and effective because of James Ford, Jon Mullican, Becky Burroughs and now, Randy Armstrong. It's hard for me to imagine my ministry without them. Here are traits they share:
Confidentiality. They can be told anything and are black-holes of secrecy.
Loyalty. They avoid passive-agressivism and offer support no matter what. This doesn't mean they always agree with you. It means you never have to worry about them undermining you publicly or privately. You have your disagreements privately, but when the huddle breaks, we run the plays we've agreed on.
Wise Counsel. As a youngster (though that doesn't apply much any more) it is so valuable to have some older voices around me that I could trust. They aren't paternalistic or maternalistic, and I never had to worry about their motives. They can offer a word of caution, give advice on personal matters or ministry matters.
Dependability. When they are given a task or responsibility…it's done and done well nearly 100% of the time.
Tutelage in Alternative Skill Sets. Some administrators are great organizers, some excel at personnel matters or financial administration. This is last among the things listed here in importance. However, in order for a Lead Minister to release things they really should release they will need to have faith not only in the character of the second-chair leader…but also their skill. Those skills are often in arenas somewhat foreign to many ministers. This presents the opportunity for learning and growing in organization, financial management, church systems, personnel matters, etc. If you are hiring this position, the person you bring in should be better than you at some things. That's OK…and it's good for the church. Bring them in, and turn them loose if they have the things listed above.
Spiritual depth. They cannot be people of questionable character. They are also not, for instance, people with business skills but little spiritual depth. Such will lead to business decisions that are bad Kingdom decisions. Good Kingdom decisions require a Kingdom lens. Great second-chair leaders look through that lens even as they bring their formidable and unique gifts to the table. At the end of the day, business, education, organization is all submitted to Kingdom. They aren't mutually exclusive. In fact, they are sometimes married. But, they aren't the same. The Spirit must run point. Great church administrators wouldn't have it any other way.
To James, Jon, Becky and Randy, thanks for leavening my ministry so wonderfully over the years.
What else might you add? What else do good "second-chair leaders offer?"
Why is it that some churches don't see the need for a "second-chair" leader?
***For a more thorough discussion of this topic, I'd refer you to the book, Leading from the Second Chair.