April 23, 2014 Tony Morgan

7 Warning Signs Your Church Has Ministry Silos: The Leadership Test

Earlier this week, I started a series of articles on ministry silos in churches. Because we commonly see this issue in the churches with which we work, I asked the Unstuck Team to share their experiences. They identified seven warning signs. Here’s the second one on their list:

2. The leadership isn’t focused and committed.

This level of focus and commitment needs to be reflected at three different levels beginning with the senior pastor.

Senior Pastors

The senior pastor is the chief vision caster and culture creator. Whether senior pastors want to hear this or not, I’ve never seen a situation where these roles have been successfully delegated to someone else. In other words, if you are not the primary champion of vision, no one else can assume that role.

The challenges begin when, for whatever reason, the senior pastor disconnects. Sometimes that happens when the senior pastor isn’t in a healthy place spiritually, physically or relationally. Other times that happens when the senior pastor’s attention is drawn to competing interests outside the church’s mission. Whatever the case, when the senior pastor doesn’t cast a clear and compelling vision, ministry silos will likely develop.

Because of this, the senior pastor needs to fight against becoming an isolated leader. As your church grows, you can’t isolate yourself from your team by staying in the safe confines of your office or your green room. You need to engage with your key leaders. They need to see you and hear from you often. If you don’t engage the team, the team will not engage with each other.

Senior Leadership Teams

I’ve addressed the responsibility of senior leadership teams in the past. My eBook, Take the Lid Off the Church, is all about helping these key teams embrace a new leadership role.

One critical sign of unhealthiness, though, is when senior leadership teams begin to value “reporting what happened” more than “focusing on what’s next.” Reacting to the past will never move your ministry forward.

More important, the shift to future vision and strategy forces leaders to work together. If you fail to do that, it’s very possible to operate in silos when putting out fires and responding to what happened yesterday captures all of your time and attention. The team will become more unified when you shift from assigning blame to taking action on future initiatives.

Staff Leaders

Finally, you also have to be cautious about the staff that you hire. Hopefully, you are focused on adding people to your team who believe in the mission, vision and values of your church. They’ve fully embraced your unique strategy. That’s what captures their heart. That’s what drives their commitment.

If you’re not careful, though, you may end up hiring staff who are not team players and want to build their own kingdom or platform. As soon as you bring someone on the team who has their own agenda, even if it’s a genuine call God placed on their life, you begin to sacrifice the greater mission of the church.

How are you doing with this test? Is your leadership focused and committed? If not, that’s the second warning sign that your church may have ministry silos.

Other articles in this series:

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Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group, theunstuckgroup.com. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.
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