4 Church Staff Wirings & Your Next Steps to Fill the Gap
There’s a common gap. We see it on too many church leadership teams. It results in lack of follow-through, lack of role clarity, and a “Sunday’s always coming” mode of operation.
In this episode, Amy and I highlight why church leadership should be a reflection of the whole Body of Christ. We break down four different “wirings” that we typically see in church staffing, and the next steps you can take if you recognize you have a crucial gap on your leadership team.
In this episode, we discuss:
Different leadership styles often found on church staffs
The signs of a church with gaps in its leadership
How to fill empty roles within your church’s leadership team
Join the Conversation:
Do you have more questions about identifying or filling the gaps in your church’s leadership? Continue the conversation in the comments below or on social media using #unstuckchurch. We look forward to hearing from you!
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Amy Anderson: 00:11
Welcome to The Unstuck Church podcast. I’m Amy Anderson here with Tony Morgan, and each week we share a conversation our team’s been having about getting churches unstuck, and today’s topic we talk about a lot—probably every week on our team—and it’s such a common gap that we see on Church leadership teams. So Tony, before we actually talk about this gap, can you give us a quick overview of the four different types of wiring that we commonly see on church teams?
Tony Morgan: 00:37
Yeah, so this will be fun because it’ll be kind of like a game. I’ll mention the four types of people that we hope to see on a church leadership team, and then before I give it away, you can try to guess at home where’s the biggest gap that we commonly see in churches? Okay, so this should be fun. Before I get into the four distinct types of folks that we see on teams—and I shouldn’t say distinct because some people, there’s definitely an overlap of a couple of these attributes, but it’s all based on kind of a spectrum around two different factors that we would look at about how someone’s wired up, so one of the spectrums is some of us are more mission/task driven, and others of us tend to be more people/relational driven, and I know even on this podcast, we represent both spectrums, don’t we, Amy?
Amy Anderson: 01:37
We do? Who do you think is the mission task person? Taskmaster driver.
Tony Morgan: 01:41
Hey, now you made that sound bad.
Amy Anderson: 01:44
It’s great. It’s great.
Tony Morgan: 01:46
No, I tend to be more mission driven. Amy tends to be more people driven and that’s why coming together as a team, we make a better team. The other spectrum that we see on teams is some people tend to be wired more fast paced. Others on the team tend to be more slow paced, and even saying that, the faster pace people are thinking, I’m right, the people that tend to be more deliberate, slower paced or thinking we’re right, you’re wrong, and by the way, that’s a natural tendency is we look at our wiring and our giftedness, and we assume that we are wired the way leaders should be wired, but when we look at scripture again, leadership, I think just like the rest of our ministry team should be a reflection of the body of Christ.
Tony Morgan: 02:36
In other words, we need different wirings on our leadership teams, different strengths, different giftedness for the leadership team to be healthy as well. All right, so with that foundation, let me unpack the four distinctive types of people we see on the teams that we’re working with. The first person is they’re mission minded, and they’re a little bit slower paced, and what we find is people with those two attributes tend to be driven by accuracy. They want things to be done. They want them to be done well. They want them to be done right. And Amy, based on that description, commonly what types of roles on staff teams come to mind when you think about that person?
Amy Anderson: 03:23
Yeah, yeah. Oftentimes you’ll have some of your operational leaders there. Think of your people in accounting or finance. Again, I don’t always call it slow pace as much as they like to take a few steps back before they go forward, but their model is we need to do this right the first time. So that’s where a lot of those people can sit.
Tony Morgan: 03:41
Yeah. And by the way, that’s the thing, the words fast and slow. I wish we had better words, but the illustration that you’ve shared and is around baseball and I love baseball. So would you mind kind of sharing that illustration again, Amy?
Amy Anderson: 03:55
Yeah. I just talk about you’ve got your outfielders in your infielders, and so when you’re on the, on the side of the wheel that’s a little bit slower paced, you’re kind of like an outfielder. You want to take a few steps back so you can get under the play, make sure you’re in position and make the play the first time when you’ve got people on the fast side, which Tony, that’s where both of us said it’s more a infielders. You think of a shortstop when the ball’s hit, they don’t take a few steps back. It’s almost instinctual for them to charge after that ball. Especially like in problem solving. So that’s the one that we talk about.
Tony Morgan: 04:30
And the good news is we have some folks on our team that are more like outfielders that take a few steps back before they charge they they take on whatever the challenges.
Amy Anderson: 04:39
All right? So that’s the key is that they’re both strengths, you know, different situations warrant different strengths. And so we try to hammer that home as much as possible.
Tony Morgan: 04:47
So the second type of person that we’re looking for is the person who’s driven by mission. They’re driven by tasks, but they’re faster paced and this person really is focused more on results. They want to make sure that whatever we’re doing, it’s going to produce results. The mission’s going to be accomplished. That strategy is going to be implemented. We’re going to see at the end of the day there’s, we’ve made a difference. Okay, so that’s the second person. And again, we’ve seen different roles, different job titles represented in all for the people that we’re describing, the CA commonly on church staff teams. What, what are some roles that naturally tend to fit with that type of wiring? Amy?
Amy Anderson: 05:33
Yeah, there’s definitely some trends are probably the two leaders I see most frequently and this, um, in this quadrant would be an executive pastor and a senior pastor there just really focused on results. Their motto is let’s just do this and they tend to be a little bit faster paced.
Tony Morgan: 05:52
Yeah. So that’s, uh, that’s the second one. The third are, and now we’re going to start to lean relational. These are the folks that really. Yeah. No, we’re finally we’re getting to you, Amy. Yes. These are folks that are primarily relational, but the first group tends to be a little bit more slower paced, a little bit more deliberate. And what they’re concerned about is the ability, they just want to make sure as we move forward in the future that not only are people stable but the organization remains stable to which in their mind is really about the people they want, relationship stability. And again, my poor wife puts up with me, but I tend to be more inclined to see change in our lives. She on the other hand prefers stability and because of the priority of relationships, and it’s not that I ignore people, it’s just that much more of my biases toward getting something accomplished.
Tony Morgan: 06:52
The two of us together make a healthy marriage. But I tell you what, if I didn’t have somebody like her, I would be moving all the time. I would be taking new jobs. You would have a new boss now, Amy because I would have found something different to do. And so I need, even for our marriage relationship, I need that opposite strength to bring the best out of me. And I’d like to think I’m, I’m bringing the best out in her as well. So that’s the third type. The fourth type is the person who is driven by relationships. They’re people driven and they’re faster paced and these folks, it’s really influence. They’re trying to influence other people to take next steps. They’re trying to influence the organization to accomplish a bigger vision. So influence is the key. I also like to say these folks are—they bring the fun to the party, and Amy, this is you, right?
Amy Anderson: 06:52
This is me. Yes, yes.
Tony Morgan: 07:50
So I didn’t pause, but these last two groups that I talked about, what are some common roles that you would see, what are some trends that you see as far as roles in these last two groups that I mentioned?
Amy Anderson: 08:01
I think that’s one where we were talking relationships and fast and where that driver is the driving force. There’s influence, there’s a lot of lead pastors in that space. You’ll see a lot of youth leaders. When you think about the people who love to get on the platform and communicate and influence others, a lot of people are in that quadrant or in that intersection, but people on the relationship side in general, whether it’s slow or fast, a lot of pastors are in that half of the wheel. That’s why they got into ministry. When I look at campus pastors, a lot of them are in that relationship side, both slow and fast. I see them on both sides. Um, so in a lot a lot of ministry leaders sit on that part.
Tony Morgan: 08:41
Yeah. So again, just to summarize the and the four descriptors that I used as the folks, the folks that are mission minded, a little bit slower paced, focused on accuracy, mission minded and faster focused on results. A relationship driven and slower paced, focused on stability and relationship driven and faster paced. The focus is more on influence. So with that in mind, I wish I had a drum roll. Yeah. So yeah, that sounds like a drum roll. Very good.
Amy Anderson: 09:14
What is the biggest gap on most church teams?
Tony Morgan: 09:17
And you know what I’m going to say here. So do you agree before I share this? Okay. All right. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t the only one seeing this.
Amy Anderson: 09:17
No, it’s the most common gap.
Tony Morgan: 09:25
So the most common gap that we’re seeing in the churches that we’re serving is that person who is mission driven, they’re more task driven, and they’re faster paced.
Tony Morgan: 09:36
And so these are the folks that are focused more on results. Uh, we would call them the drivers in the organization. Um, but that’s really their motivation is they’re trying to help the organization, in our case, the ministry move forward. Um, and so whatever that broader vision is, they’re going after that whatever the strategy is to see that vision accomplished, they’re going after that, and they’re just wanting to make sure wherever we’re making an investment primarily with people’s time and financial resources that it’s having an impact. And we’re seeing results from that. And um, I just had a conversation just this past week actually was a very large church. Um, but they’ve been declining for several years, and we talked about the need for change that exists within this church and their challenges. They’ve recognized this decline, and they’ve recognized the need for change. They’ve been through planning processes in the past, but there’s never been any follow through to what they’ve talked about.
Tony Morgan: 10:43
What happens is they always drift back to doing what they’ve always done, and when we started to talk about why that’s happening, it really came back to this gap that exists on their team as well. They don’t have that person who’s the driver who’s really pushing for results and as a result of that, they’re just drifting back to what they’ve always done. Now the key here is though I asked you what are some common roles that you see that fill this, this quadrant. It’s really not about position title. It’s all about the wiring. You need that person who is more wired around the mission. They’re more wired around results. They’re faster pace, they want to keep things moving forward. And as you mentioned, Amy, commonly that per that wiring does fall in line with somebody who might be the senior pastor or might be the executive pastor.
Tony Morgan: 11:42
But what I want to say is this, it doesn’t have to be one or both of those people. It can be somebody else on your leadership team, but you need somebody else on that, on your leadership team leadership team that has this wiring. That’s the key on the leadership team. So not in a staff role, not in a lay leadership role. This needs to be someone at the leadership level, the top leadership level. And again, just giving somebody the executive pastor title is not going to fix this. You need someone without wiring to fix this.
Amy Anderson: 12:17
Um, so you mentioned some of them, Tony, but just since we’re talking about this gap, what are some of the characteristics of churches that are experiencing the gap of not having a driver on their team? So listen, comes to mind.
Tony Morgan: 12:28
Yeah. Listen to these things that I have to share, Amy, and then I’m gonna want you to see if you have any other additional insights. So characteristics of churches that are experiencing this gap, but here are some things that I’m seeing generally a lack of follow through on the team, so because there’s not somebody that’s really focused on the results, the ministry, the impact of ministries having, um, there’s just a lack of follow through that’s happening not only with the leadership team itself but across the life of the church. A lack of role clarity. So who’s responsible for what is the big question and when, when there’s somebody that isn’t wired up with the strength, typically it would be that person that would be clarifying who is responsible for what. So lack of role clarity may be another characteristic. Another characteristic is the church tends to focus on what needs to happen for next Sunday, but there’s very little focus about what needs to happen long term to accomplish that longterm vision.
Tony Morgan: 13:30
And then more importantly, what do we need to be focused on in the next weeks and months to see that vision get accomplished? So that’s another gap that we see. Another characteristic is there’s really no score board for the team. So the team doesn’t know what to look for to know whether or not they’re winning, whether or not the church is healthy, and so without somebody that again is kind of focused on the impact, the results of the ministry. There is no reason to have the scoreboard, and so we just continue doing ministry, hoping and praying that’s having an impact, but we really don’t know if it’s having an impact because no one’s really monitoring that there’s, there’s a gap exist and then the final that I would mention, and then Amy, I’ll see what you have to share is these churches tend to be doing what they’ve always done and hoping and praying for different results.
Tony Morgan: 14:22
Kind of like the church that I just mentioned a moment ago, and so I do think we should be hopeful because we are believers in Jesus as God’s building the church. It’s His church. We should be hopeful, and we should be praying. God will answer our prayers, but at the same time, we need to be good stewards of the mission that God’s called us to. And in order to do that, the leadership team needs to reflect the whole body of Christ and we need this giftedness and wiring on our leadership team in order for the church to continue to have impact. So Amy, anything that you’ve seen in your experience that might be an indicator of the leadership team missing this person?
Amy Anderson: 15:05
Yeah, I’ll probably say the same things you did, but a different way as someone who sits on the relationship side, I find when there’s not someone in that driver seat, we don’t ask hard questions because people on the people relation side tend to ask safe questions. We want to keep the peace. So you want to keep harmony. We value people, but good drivers ask the tough questions, and, therefore, when that person’s not there, we avoid conflict. And I don’t just mean like relational conflict. I mean conflict on what it is we’re doing. And asking those tough questions. You used the word interruption a lot. Great drivers, create great interruptions because they’re just restless with the results or the lack of results that they’re seeing. And they’ve got to ask a question as to how we can, how can we make some changes? So they just, they tend to, I always appreciate drivers because, um, they actually asked what I’m thinking about. They’re just brave enough to do it because on the people side we tend to tone it down a little bit.
Tony Morgan: 16:02
It’s pretty rare though. I’ve seen senior leadership teams that have all drivers or…
Amy Anderson: 16:02
I have too.
Tony Morgan: 16:12
Goodness, we need your wiring on our teams. Uh, so, um, I mean this is not, this is not an all or nothing. This really is, it’s a body of Christ conversation all over again. I think. I think Paul was right, he was a pretty wise guy, and we need all of these wirings on our leadership teams in order for that team to be healthy and are ultimately for the body of Christ to be healthy.
Amy Anderson: 16:34
Let me just add one thing in there. You know, I do find… I do staffing structures quite a bit throughout the year with many churches and when we come upon churches that are really heavy populated, when their team leaders are in that people relationship side, they often will recognize we need a driver. This is part of the reason of our stuckness is we don’t have this role, but I always caution them to say, don’t work them out of your organization because they’re not wired like, you know, like any organism works out what’s foreign? A driver can be very foreign to a church team that’s been together for a long time, really weighted on the people side. So you really have to embrace those strengths across the board. Otherwise they’re not gonna, they’re not gonna stick and they’re not going to fit. Um, you’ve got to value what they bring.
Tony Morgan: 17:17
That’s a good word, Amy.
Amy Anderson: 17:19
Yeah. All right. So if the church, if the churches that are listening, they kind of recognize that they’ve got this gap. Some of those symptoms that you listed are there, how should they fill this role?
Tony Morgan: 17:29
Yeah. So this is, again, it’s probably not going to be surprised, but I always encouraged churches to look inside first. Is there, is there someone on your current staff team or is there a lay leader in your church that could be developed into this role and just because it’s the exact the gap exist today and there’s someone potentially that might be able to fit it, doesn’t mean you should automatically move them in that role today, but it may be you could at least start developing that person to step into that capacity in the near future and in order to help confirm is this the right person or not? I I really think test driving is a good thing here and by that I mean not putting someone in a position but giving them a project first. So allow them to demonstrate this wiring in themselves.
Tony Morgan: 18:22
The fact that they can drive the mission forward, that they can drive towards results and really to. I mean you gotta be looking for if even though that’s their bias, making sure that there’s enough relational savviness there that they can rally people to join them. In the mission as well, so you need to be looking for that, but if you look inside and there’s no one, you have to fill this gap eventually, and you may have to look outside to bring this person into your organization and many times that’s exactly what’s required in order to create a cultural shift on a team is you actually have to bring somebody, a leader out from outside the organization to help implement that cultural shift and my only counsel to you is if you go that route to make sure you get outside help because you don’t know because you don’t know what you’re looking for in many cases and it’s just as you mentioned, the natural bent is going to be to push this person outside the organization, but you need help finding somebody that loves Jesus, that loves your mission, your vision, your strategy, but they have this different bent about them, this different wiring and you’re going to need an outside organization to help you find that person.
Tony Morgan: 19:43
So that would be my encouragement and also you may not have or may not think you have the money to do this. But this is a great example of sometimes we have to reallocate our staffing dollars to get gaps filled, and so it may be that you have to reallocate some of your positions, current staffing positions in order to create the resources where you can go hire this person.
Amy Anderson: 20:12
Mhm, I just have to add, Tony, when we’re left on our own, we tend to hire people just like yourself. So just kind of supporting that, get outside help when you’re. When you’re looking for this quality,
Tony Morgan: 20:22
You’re absolutely right. And I can just from experience, I will tell you that’s my natural bent, is to find people like me, and I’d tell you what, if everybody were like Tony Morgan, it would be a very lopsided organization.
Amy Anderson: 20:36
Well, we would have you as our driver.
Tony Morgan: 20:38
You get a lot done, but we would all hate each other I think.
Amy Anderson: 20:43
Well thank you, Tony, and thanks to you, our listeners for tuning into today’s podcast.
Amy Anderson: 20:49
If you related to the characteristics that Tony described, and you’re interested in more information, take a look at the Unstuck Staffing and Structure Review. It’s part of our four phase consulting process that we operate churches, and we dive deep not just on developing a strategic structure for your church teams, but we do look at these four areas and assess the balance and the strengths and gaps in each area so you can learn more about this process at theunstuckgroup.com. We’ll be back next week. Hope you can join us.