Sticky Teams, part 2

Sticky_TeamsContinuing with some thoughts from Larry Osborne's Sticky Teams: Keeping your Leadership Team and Staff on the Same Page. Again, this is a truly wonderful leadership book. It's concise, clear, and no-nonsense. Some of the best stuff is near the end of the book where he talks about how to handle three of the biggest and most common ministry challenges: moral failure, financial collapse, and releasing of a beloved but ineffective staff member. Those need to be read, and quoting them would do a real disservice. 

Here are some random quotes. Remember again that these are pulled from their contexts…but should make some sense anyways:

  • "WHEN I BECAME A senior pastor, I wasn’t so naïve that I expected board meetings to be the highlight of my ministry schedule. But I didn’t expect them to be the low point either. Yet they clearly were. As I’ve already mentioned, I was dismayed by the undertone of distrust that permeated many of our meetings. We squabbled over silly issues like retreads or new tires. We spent way too much time on minutia. Our divergent backgrounds fostered far more misunderstandings than new insights and perspective. Add to that the two board members who felt compelled to make sure I didn’t gain too much influence and power, and you can see why I rated board meetings somewhere between a trip to the dentist and a day at the DMV. And those were the good meetings. Even worse, we almost completely neglected the weightier things of spiritual leadership: seeking God’s vision, dreaming, strategizing, evangelism, discipleship, and extended prayer."
  • "There are lots of ways to win a game. But no team can win if every player chooses his own game plan. It’s the same in the church. There are lots of ways to do church. But none of them work until everyone is aligned to the same mission, vision, and methods. Getting everyone on the same page is one of the most difficult and important roles of leadership."
  • "I learned a valuable lesson that night. When information is presented too close to a decision-making process, most people will view it as a lobbying effort, not as a training exercise."
  • "In particular, I’ve come to rely on five powerful tools to keep us aligned. A clear and simple mission statement, A front-loaded pastor’s class, The drip method of preaching, Sermon-based small groups, Short and sweet congregational meetings."
  • "Churches are goofy. We’re the only organization that prides itself on making sure our leaders have no idea where the money comes from."
  • "Far better is the apology that simply says, “I blew it. Here’s what happened. Here’s where we are. Here’s how we plan to fix it.” Once that has taken place, people and congregations are remarkably resilient. There will obviously be naysayers (even Jesus had his share), but most people genuinely want to move on. They simply need to know two things first: Have we gotten the whole truth? Can we trust our leaders to keep telling us the whole truth?"
  • "But having said that, if forced to choose between a great mission statement and a clear set of plumb lines, I’d choose the plumb lines every time. That’s because the devil and most disagreements are in the details. I find it relatively easy to get our entire staff headed in the same direction and aiming at the same goal. I find it much more difficult to ensure that everyone is taking the same route to get there."

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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