October 9, 2019 Tony Morgan

Get Your Church Staff Unstuck – Episode 114 | The Unstuck Church Podcast

Great Teams Focus on Both Relationships AND Results


If you enjoy this episode, subscribe on your device for more:
iTunes   RSS   Google Play  Stitcher   Spotify

We’ve found many church staff teams operate in one of two extremes: They get along with each other but struggle to execute plans… or they are impressively productive but unhealthy and dysfunctional.

The undercurrent is often that we church leaders can get so busy “doing” ministry that we never think about how we “do” team. It’s the Sunday’s always coming syndrome.

But the truth is, a church’s kingdom impact is directly correlated with the health and performance of its team. Your team is the most valuable asset you have in making progress toward your vision.

Great teams focus on both relationships and results. 

In this episode, we’re sharing a portion of our recent webinar featuring me, Amy Anderson and Lance Witt, where we shared what we’re learning about healthy, high-performing church staff teams. 

  • High performing teams focus on relationships and results.
  • High performing teams identify root causes of dysfunction.
  • High performing teams continuously implement best practices to improve team health.
The greatest gift you can give your team is a healthy you. #unstuckchurch [episode 114]Click to Tweet Your team always knows the score even when you don't want them to. #unstuckchurch [episode 114]Click To Tweet

Leader Conversation Guide

Want to take this conversation back to a staff or senior leadership team meeting?

Our Show Notes subscribers get a PDF download that recaps the episode content and includes a discussion guide you can print out and use at an upcoming meeting.

Opt-in here and get the Leader Conversation Guide for this episode, as well as access to the archive.


Share Your Thoughts and Questions on Social Media

We use #unstuckchurch on Twitter, and we start a real-time conversation each Wednesday morning when the episode drops. You can follow me @tonymorganlive and The Unstuck Group @unstuckgroup. If Facebook is where you spend your time, I’m there, too.


Links & Resources from the Episode


Write a Review—It Helps!

Particularly on iTunes, your ratings and reviews really do help more pastors discover the podcast content I’m creating here. Would you take a minute to share your thoughts? Just open the the podcast on iTunes on your phone or computer, click Ratings & Reviews, and leave your opinion.


Transcript 

Sean: 00:02 Welcome to the Unstuck Church Podcast where each week we’re exploring what it means to be unstuck. Church teams almost always operate in one of two extremes. They get along with each other but struggle to execute plans or they’re productive but unhealthy and dysfunctional. The underlying issue is that we’re often so busy doing ministry that we never think about how we’re doing team. On today’s podcast, we’re revisiting a conversation, Tony and director of Unstuck Teams Lance Witt had on a recent webinar about creating healthy and high performing teams. Make sure before you listen to subscribe to get the show notes in your inbox every week. You’re going to get one email with our leader conversation guide, all of the resources we mentioned during the episode and bonus resources to go along with the content. You’ll also get access to the archive of all of our podcast resources from past episodes. You can sign up by going to the unstuck group.com/podcast. Now here are Tony, Amy, and Lance with a conversation on how churches can create healthy and high performing teams.

Tony: 01:04 The very first thing we want to look at is identifying the causes of team dysfunction. So, here’s what we’ve found in working with church staff teams. They operate in one of two extremes. A, they get along with each other, but they struggle to execute plans or they are impressively productive, but they’re unhealthy and dysfunctional. So you probably have a good idea of which one of those your team leads toward. But Lance, I think I want to begin with you. Will you kick us off by talking about the tension between those two extremes? What’s going on?

Lance: 01:43 Yeah, well, I think the reality is, you know, you talked about teams having a bent and a kind of a propensity, but I think the truth is, as leaders, we also have a bent and every person on the team is bent toward one side of this equation or the other. And so I think it does set up a tension because on the health side, you’ve got churches that I would say suffer from what I tend to call terminal niceness. Like they’re very polite. They present the sort of veneer a unity. They don’t disagree in meetings, but sometimes what happens out in the hallway and the one on one conversations after the meeting, it’s what I call the church version of trash talking. And these churches also often don’t deal well with conflict. We tend to not hold people very accountable.

Lance: 02:34 And so again, great people love to get along well, but struggle maybe on some of the performance side. Well then you flip to the other side of the equation. You have teams with a really strong culture of focusing on results. They love talking about goals. They read every latest leadership book. They throw around the word metrics a lot, but sometimes unintentionally, they can sort of trample people. The process and relationships get injured and people don’t feel valued or invested in. And, then they can begin to feel as though ministry’s more transactional than personal. And so, I think because of those two realities always bumping up against each other, it does create this tension.

Tony: 03:17 Hey Lance this is a curve ball, but you’re the newest person on the team. What do you think the bent is at the Unstuck Group?

Lance: 03:28 I would say my initial assessment would be if I look at the organization, the bent is on the high performance side, but I would say having gotten to know the team, it is very strong relationally. So, I think there is a good blend, but I would say you guys have been helping churches get unstuck and get clear about metrics and vital signs and actually making kingdom progress, which tilts a little maybe on the performance side.

Tony: 03:58 Yeah. Okay. I appreciate your honesty there. Thanks Amy, again, I mentioned earlier you’re working almost weekly with churches in the unstuck process with this focus on staffing and structure. So what’s your take on this?

Amy: 04:15 Yeah, you know, I see a with teams that have this high focus on health, often there’s some event or issue that has happened in the background where they have been a very toxic team for whatever reason. And I see sometimes they actually over-correct in this area, so maybe there was a dysfunctional leader, like you mentioned Lance who was so focused on metrics or performance at kind of any expense that when that person left, there’s been an overcorrection. I’m in that place. In fact, I was recently at a church like this and while the health has been restored for many years, they really are a team that loves one another. They’re also wise enough to know. We really haven’t gotten a lot accomplished in these last few years as we’ve been trying to heal relationally. On the other hand, when performance is really the lead, I actually see it a lot at multisite churches because often the teams are overextended, meaning they’re now in multiple locations and everyone is working so hard. But because there’s a tangle in those lanes of who owns what, who’s doing what, you know, there’s dual roles, triple roles. I see a lot of multisite churches where the teams are really just exhausted and their relationships are feeling that there’s a lot of strain in them. And because it’s always Sunday, there’s really no time to address the pains that are emerging. So really when a team is focused on one or another, it’s actually the mission that suffers, you know, either way,

Tony: 05:43 Lance, sometimes the issue is fairly obvious, the symptoms are obvious, but the root cause may be hidden. Why is it you think that churches don’t deal with it?

Lance: 05:55 Yeah, I think first maybe though it might be just to say sometimes I think it’s not obvious for some, kind of what we’ve already talked about, sometimes we get so focused on doing church, prepping sermons, pulling off the weekend as we sometimes talk about the whirlwind that we don’t really stop to go, how well are we doing at doing teams? And, I think sometimes the senior pastor, especially depending on personality, can maybe be a bit removed and isolated from really digging down. But when you talk about underlying causes, I’ll just use myself as an example. When I was a senior pastor, I would say one of the underlying causes of our lack of team health and performance was my own insecurity. People pleasing that got in the way sometimes of really addressing issues and addressing some of the broken stuff in our staff culture.

Lance: 06:55 And so people pleasing and fear of conflict, all those things kept some things unhealthy. And I remember there was a moment when we had to let a youth pastor go and it was a really painful experience. We sent him to some counseling with his wife and we said, would it be okay if your counselor came back to us and helped us learn how to better do these kinds of situations? And when the counselor came back to us, he said, you know what the problem was, he never heard you. And it just reminded me of Susan Scott in her book, Fierce Conversations. She talks about how sometimes the message gets lost because we put so many pillows around it. And that’s where I was as a leader and I just wasn’t clear. And I think sometimes we have to go back to who we are as senior leaders, the bent that we have, and then also the issue of our own emotional health. And so there could be a lot of underlying root causes. But I think we always want to start with asking where am I in this and what is my perspective? Because as a senior leader, I’m going to set the tone.

Tony: 08:02 That’s good, Lance. All right, well that sets up the conversation, but let’s move forward because I want to unpack a little bit more on both sides of the conversation we’re having today. So the second thing we want to focus on is addressing those top performance challenges. Let’s just look at some practical application. There are some teams that are sensing that dysfunction and it’s not around the health side. It’s around performance. They’re not getting the performance that they’re looking for. And so, Amy, I want to start with you. What do you see to be one of the biggest issues that are creating performance challenges in churches?

Amy: 08:42 Hmm, well, there’s many, but one of the biggest challenges is the lack of clarity around what the wins are, what the goals are. And I often see this actually organizationally, they don’t know what they’re working towards, what a win looks like for their organization. And then if that’s fuzzy, then how do you get personal performance, you know, designated out as well. And so it sounds really basic, but it’s a big challenge. And how that plays into performance is that there’s so many good things a church can do, right? So there’s so many different things that they could get involved in. And when goals aren’t clear, what people do on staff is they just kind of get busy taking care of things, and so they’ll do what they think they should be doing. And then pretty soon everyone’s pulling in different directions. They’re not pulling together. And without that organizational clarity, without priorities being clear, the church just loses momentum. And so I think that’s probably one of the biggest headlines is that they don’t know what they’re doing and nobody’s really managing that.

Tony: 09:46 Yeah, that’s good. So Lance related to that, you can’t even give them wins without clarifying your goals and strategy. Churches tend to stop at the goals though. So for example, we want to increase our discipleship attendance, if they set any goals at all, it’s just a challenge for them. So the big picture of where we want to go, that’s clear. But the strategy for how to get there, there seems to be some fuzziness there. Are you seeing that?

Lance: 10:15 Oh, absolutely. And again, I think sometimes it’s systemic for the organization, but even when an organization has a clearly stated mission or vision statement and maybe some high level goals, where I see the ball sometimes get dropped is it never gets translated into the individual team level. Like how do we take organizational goals and how do we flesh that out of the team level. And then, for the team supervisor, what does that look like at an individual level? And so expectations aren’t clear, people aren’t clear about their priorities or where their inner energy should be going. And so they just kind of make it up the best they know how. I remember about a year ago, I was at a church in Tampa and I was speaking about the issue of priorities. And so I asked people to write down their top three priorities for the next 30 days.

Lance: 11:05 And so one of the guys in the room was a supervisor and he not only wrote down his priorities, but he wrote down what he thought should be the top three priorities of all the staff he was managing. And then he had a one on one with each of those people and he compared lists. And he wrote me an email later and he said, I was absolutely shocked how different our lists were. And he says it wasn’t their fault, it was my fault. And I just think it’s a powerful illustration of how the ball gets dropped. Its sort of on that team level. And so as a team and at the individual level, we have to set clear expectations and it’s unfair to hold people accountable to performance and expectations when the priorities haven’t been clearly defined. So, but once they are clear then I think we have every reasonable chance to hold people accountable for delivering on those.

Tony: 11:59 Yeah, it’s interesting. I’ve worked with a larger church here in the last number of months and I think in every ministry area, they’re just operating with their focus on what needs to happen in their ministry. And what happens in larger churches is you tend to lose sight of the larger objectives that the church is trying to accomplish. And so if I were to assess each of the individual ministry areas, it would feel like they’re doing a fabulous job in their ministry area. But the problem is there wasn’t any alignment around goals and strategies of the broader ministry objectives that the church was trying to accomplish. Amy, a third issue that we run into related to this has to do with leadership development and it’s really creating problems around performance. So can you talk about developing leaders based on roles and leadership capacity?

Amy: 12:55 Sure. You know, if any of the churches we work with are listening, they’ve probably heard me say this, but again, leadership capacity is a real thing. We all have different levels of it and we don’t have the same capacity across the board. I think, you know, maybe Lance and Tony, you’d agree, I think after over 20 years of the global leadership summit maybe has created a belief within the church that we all have the spiritual gift of leadership. And I just don’t think that’s true. Just like we’re not all teachers and shepherds at a high degree, those are all gifts that are given to us. And so when it comes to leading other people and leading other leaders, I’ve just seen way too many examples of people being promoted in leadership roles beyond their gifting. So back to your question, how is this issue of leadership development affecting performance issues?

Amy: 13:40 It’s that we place leaders in leadership roles that are not developed at that level and they’re conducting a team that they lead but they aren’t leading. They’re probably still doing a lot of doing. So instead of giving ministry away and raising up the next level of leaders, a big portion of their time is spent heads down, still checking off boxes and doing things themselves. So we need to be clear with emerging leaders where they are in their leadership development and we need to give appropriate stretch challenges, assignments that will develop them. And we talk about that a lot. You know, give them some budget, a stretch goal and then reward the right things. And so for example, again, if you’re trying to raise up a leader, make sure you’re rewarding them for engaging other people, other lay leaders in the project and don’t reward for all the things that they individually do.

Tony: 14:33 That’s good. Let me toss this in. Listen, kind of like a bonus related to team performance. If you want to improve the performance of your team, stop having bad meetings and if you wonder what does it look like to have good meetings? Amy and I actually recorded a podcast and we kind of provided a formula on what good healthy meetings should look like. And what we’ll do is include a link to that podcast in the email that you’ll get after this webinar. And I really do encourage you, take the time to listen to that. It will certainly help the performance of your team as well and actually it may improve the health of your team. But on that note, let’s shift gears and talk about the other side of this equation, the point number three we want to make is all around addressing the top health challenges that churches are facing. And so we’ve invested a bit of time talking about the performance side. We want teams to be high-performing but also for a team to have the greatest impact, it needs to be healthy as well. And so Lance, what’s the first thing that a pastor needs to do when they recognize the unhealthy behaviors on their team?

Lance: 15:48 Well, this might feel like a counter intuitive response, but I think the first thing you need to do is do some personal reflection. And to ask the question, do I need to own part of this problem? And I have a story I really don’t like to tell, but maybe it illustrates this. I had a guy that was on my staff 20 years ago and we have kept in touch a lot, but he was coming through town and he said, Hey, can we have lunch? And I said, sure. So we were reminiscing, telling old stories, laughing a lot. And then at one point in the meal he kind of stopped and said, Hey, you know, there’s always something, I’ve wanted to talk to you about, I was thinking great, this is not going to be good. And, he said, you know, the truth is you weren’t very easy to work for.

Lance: 16:37 And I just listened and it was hard to hear, but the truth is he was right. And some of the challenges that we had as a staff had to do with some of my own baggage, lack of emotional health, lack of self awareness. And so I think as a senior leader, you’ve got to start by kind of looking in the mirror. But then beyond that, I would say these words, engage, don’t retreat. Start asking questions, start having some honest conversations about the issues that you’re seeing. Try to discern what’s really going on underneath that unhealthy behavior. And I would encourage you as a leader if you’re seeing unhealthy behavior going on in the staff level, go into detective mode because what you may find is that there’s some underlying stuff, like something might be going on at home or in a marriage completely outside of church that’s prompting the unhealthy behavior. It could be that this person doesn’t really know what the win is for their role and doesn’t have clear expectations or it might be that they just lack any kind of self awareness. And so I think you just want to start digging in and I think the hope is we use hope as a strategy, right? You know, like I’m hopeful that this is just going to go away and get better. And as we all know, hope is not a good strategy. And so I think again, you have to sort of, you know, buckle up and just say, you know what, I’m going to dig in and start. And by the way, it’s much better to start dealing with it now than six months from now. So yeah.

Tony: 18:15 Yeah. I just had another conversation in the past few weeks with a church and they said, for two years, they were hoping that a health challenge on their team would rectify itself and it just didn’t happen. And two years is too long to let something that’s unhealthy fester on your team. If leaders see some unhealthy behavior, they need to first look in the mirror. It reminds me of the conversation, a very public conversation I had with Carrie Nieuwolf, on his podcast about my cynicism. I’m wondering if some of that hasn’t been copied by the rest of the team. Let’s move on. Amy, what are some of the top health challenges that you’re seeing as you engage with church teams?

Amy: 19:11 Well, Lance alluded to it earlier, but there’s just too much play nice and keep the peace there. You know, there isn’t any hard conversations happening. So instead of talking about the real issues that are getting in the way of us having a healthy team and a healthy relationship, we choose what I call pseudo community, which is keep the peace. And you know, I talk about the wheel a lot. We talk about if you’re on the fast pace, you can tend to get stuck on the people side. The truth is at most churches, if not every church I’ve worked with, the majority of the staff fall on the people side. And I think that’s really normal because a lot of us go into ministry because we love and care about people. But of course the challenge is we don’t like to disrupt relationships.

Amy: 19:56 And so we tend to be people who avoid hard conversations. And the truth is when we don’t move in on those conversations, especially if we’re a supervisor, we’re actually hurting that person. And so you don’t meet. Tony as you know, I’m on the relational side of the wheel. And I remember when I would lead my team, when I had a hard conversation to have, I actually had to discipline myself to have those conversations. And the first thing I had to do was confirm my motivation for the conversation that it was to help someone, not to hurt someone. Because if it’s in their blind spot and I see it as their supervisor, it’s kind of my job to move in. So I would actually then write out what I needed to say, believe it or not, I had to go pen to paper and again, get my right motivation.

Amy: 20:44 Remember, it’s my responsibility to have this conversation for them, not against them, but write out what I needed to say because here’s what would happen. I get someone across the table from me by the way, who I really enjoy working with, but they have a blind spot. And as soon as I would start talking, I would just feel my words hitting them. And then I tried to comfort them at the same time. So if you can imagine that loop that’s going on. And what if I didn’t discipline myself, I’m sure they would walk away. Not having any idea what I just said because I talked in circles, but I’d write it out and, actually in some of the really hard ones early on I would say, I’m actually going to read this cause I wanna make sure I’m really clear about what I’m sharing with you. And then I would give them a copy of it. Now I got better at it over time, but as the leader, one of my swing thoughts is always you get what you tolerate. And so when you see those blind spots, it’s your role to move in. And when churches are not strong on this health side, we’ve just been really nice for many years, but we really have a lot of issues that are not being talked about and talked through.

Tony: 21:48 Swing thoughts. Amy, you’re admitting that you’ve played golf?

Amy: 21:52 I do. I actually saw it this week.

Tony: 21:54 Oh, good for you. Well, for those that don’t play golf, can you explain what a swing thought is?

Amy: 22:01 Yeah, well my husband is my golf coach and so when I would go to hit the ball, he was always so good at just giving me one swing thought, you know, pretend there’s a, I dunno, a towel under your arm and then I’d swing and I hit the ball miraculously. But if he were to say put the towel onto your arm, keep your nose over the ball, put your weight on your front feet, I would never have hit the ball. And so I just used that swing thought in those moments like that. Like what’s the one thing I want to remember as I’m going into that conversation?

Tony: 22:29 That’s good. All right. So related to that, Lance, this probably is not going to be a surprise to you, but in most churches there’s not a lot of good resolution to conflict. And so I’m hoping you can share your wisdom on how we can approach conflict in a healthier way.

Lance: 22:49 I think to lean into what Amy was already saying, I think it’s helpful for us to acknowledge this is an area of struggle for most of us in ministry. We don’t naturally do this very well and it does bother us. And there’s a lot of anxiety around dealing with conflict and in fact, if, if you don’t have any of that, I’m not sure you’re probably wired really to be in church ministry, you know, but I’m a big fan of Patrick Lencioni and one of the things he talks about is this issue of avoiding conflict, he says the number one organization that struggles with this the most is churches. And he said, it’s because we have this misguided idea that it’s not okay to be disagreeable or it’s not okay to get frustrated with each other. And so we play nice and then just take care of all the messy stuff offline.

Lance: 23:37 And I guess the main thing I would want to say to a person or a church is this is a skill we learn and we must learn. And I love how granular Amy’s illustration was of the steps she had to walk through. And that’s a skill. And so I think again, what we have to do is lean in because it’s right. And I have in all these years of ministry experience, I’ve just seen how much dysfunction and chaos I’ve created because of my lack of skill in this area. And so I would say if you want to get better at this, let me give you a couple of ideas. One is read some good books. There’s some great books out there these days, you know, Crucial Conversations. I’m a big fan of Susan Scott’s book, Fierce Conversations. I wrote two chapters in my newest book, High Impact Teams on how to have uncomfortable conversations.

Lance: 24:30 And in it, I got very tactical on the steps you can take because I feel like that’s often where things end up getting a little bit messy. And so I think we’ve got to learn how to attack issues without attacking each other. And we could obviously spend all day talking about this but let me give you leaders one other kind of just personal encouragement and that is keep short accounts when it comes to this. One of my biggest mistakes as a leader has been waiting too long to sit down and have a clear, mature adult, honest conversation about a problem. And so kind of one of my mantras I’ve been carrying the last few years is I have to learn the skill of being both clear and kind. And I can do both.

Tony: 25:20 That’s good Lance. All right. I want to come right back to you because there seems to be one other big topic related to team health that I know churches want to talk about, but many times they don’t do anything about it. And it has to do with this issue of work, life balance. So can you give us some perspective on what we need to be sensitive to when it comes to that topic?

Lance: 25:40 Yeah, one of the things that quickly comes to my mind is every church I know would go, of course I want everybody’s family to be healthy and have adequate time off and whatever, but often their culture and even their systems kind of work against that. But I remember one time I was doing a pastor’s retreat and I was teaching on Sabbath. And at the end of my talk on Sabbath, one of the pastors said, you know, and I appreciated his honesty because he was really candid. He said, if I’m honest, I try to keep people like you away from my staff. He said, because I don’t want my underperforming staff to have another excuse not to get their job done. And so I said, you know what, I really appreciate your honesty because I have felt that sometimes from pastors when I’ve talked on that, but I said, what if we adopted a “both” “and” approach where we really valued hard work and producing results?

Lance: 26:36 And that’s a stewardship issue certainly. But how about also if we just as much cared about people’s pace, time and family and personal health. And so again, I’ve been talking a lot about let’s teach people how to work really hard but then also unplug really hard. I really do believe that the greatest gift any of us give our teams is a healthy us. When my marriage is strong and I’m feeling connected to my kids and I’m walking with Jesus and I’m not running on empty and I have some hobbies and recreation, I’m a better staff member. And I think one for me, Tony, one of the big messages is that health has everything to do with high-performance. They’re not disconnected. They really are. And I’ll tell you this one little story. I was in Florida and in a room with Mark Miller, who’s a VP for Chick-fil-A, and there were a couple of hundred pastors in the room and at the end of his talk, he said, you know, when you were born, God gave every one of you a palette of colors with which to paint a rich life and said, you know what my problem is with you pastors, you only paint with one color, the ministry palette.

Lance: 27:49 And so you need some things outside of your ministry, in your job that build richness and texture to your life. And he said, by the way, when you have that, you’ll actually be a better pastor.

Tony: 28:00 Mark should be pastoring. Yeah, he is really right. Well let’s kind of tie a bow on this as best we can today. We’ve talked about both health and high performance and in fact, if you’re still clueless, what’s the bottom line on this? We at the Unstuck Group really think you need to be paying attention to both. It’s not going to be helpful for you and your team to only focus on doing ministry and having healthy relationships and loving on each other and encouraging each other, but not getting anything done when it comes to the mission God’s called us to. But on the other side, it’s not good to have a healthy, thriving mission focused church that’s making a great kingdom impact and for the team to be falling apart when it comes to how they’re doing life together. And for you as leaders, not to be in a healthy place as as Lance was just alluding to. So I know this is a challenge, but this brings us to the fourth section of our webinar today. It’s all about the first step that we want to encourage you to take. And so, Lance, I want to begin with you here. Where do we start if we want to have both a healthy and a high performing team, where do we begin?

Lance: 29:22 Well, I think the first place to begin, honestly is just to acknowledge that this is an area where we need to put some energy and leadership and we need to develop and get better. Because often I think as senior leaders we’re almost acting like nothing’s really going on, but deep down the people feel it, they feel the lack of health, they feel the toxicity, they feel the exhaustion. And I remember Michael Abrashoff who wrote a great leadership book called, It’s Your Ship. He was a four star Admiral in the Navy. And one of his statements he made, I’ve always remembered was “your people always know the score even when you don’t want them to. They feel it.” And I think part of good leadership is just acknowledging, Hey, we want to get better. And for some of you it might be we’re a good team, but we want to become a world class team.

Lance: 30:16 For some of us it’s kind of sobering to realize we may really have a lot of work to do and we’ve got some lack of health or lack of performance. And I think just acknowledging is a good first step. And then the second one I would say is just lean in. You’re not going to drift into becoming a healthy and high performing team. And again, I think you’ve got to do some assessment and we’re working to provide that kind of thing at the Unstuck Group. But it’s not so important where you are today. What’s more important is if can you move the needle in health and high-performance in the next few months? And I would just say to you, you’ve got to take a longterm approach here. There’s no quick fix. There’s no magic bullet in this. It’s some hard work and it’s gonna take some time.

Lance: 31:05 I would also say a great step is to get everybody on your senior leadership team, making sure that you’re working on your own emotional health. You have to go to school on yourself and on your culture and you’ve got to become a student of your own soul. And I think even also to realize, apart from that, most of us weren’t trained how to effectively lead teams. How to, you know, do performance management. We weren’t trained for that. We’re going to have to go to school and become a student of this area and our churches are going to be better if we’re willing to do that.

Tony: 31:41 That’s good. All right. Amy, I want you to speak directly to the senior pastors because if I’m in the seat of a senior pastor right now, I’m hearing, Oh my goodness, I have to lead both the performance side of what’s happening in our organization and what’s happening with the health of the organization. Is that possible for the senior pastor to be driving both of those?

Amy: 32:02 Well, I just read the book Extreme Ownership by two Navy seals. And so part of me goes, you have to,

Tony: 32:09 Gosh, now, I feel like I need to read a book by an Admiral or something after those two references.

Amy: 32:16 So I think you have to own it, but do you have to lead it? I would say the best way for a senior pastor to lead this is to build a senior leadership team that is committed to both of those things. You know, we’re big around here on team-based leadership. There is an owner, there is a leader, but as much as we can do by team is best, and I think a healthy senior leadership team should obviously keep their eyes on the results of the entire organization, right? Is our front door healthy? Are we reaching new people? Are people taking steps along the discipleship path? There’s ways to measure that and to take a look at that. The leadership team should be committed to leading a spiritually vibrant organization so they should model health by taking their Sabbath and taking time off, those things that you just talked about, Lance.

Amy: 33:06 They should at the right time be in the word with their teams and they should have regular one on ones that address more than performance, but to understand how their staff is doing. And of course when that leadership team models those things so well they’re teaching their people how to continue that throughout the organization. So having said that, you know, there are often people on the leadership team who have a bent towards one or the other. It’s rare a person who has got the wiring to keep their eye fully on both of those things. So to cover the bases, I think it’s okay to name a champion. You know, someone who’s really great at making sure we’re getting those performance topics looked at, we’ve got a dashboard, we’re keeping our eye on the ball there and to have someone else who’s more, you know, attuned to that health side. So again, the team owns it, but having some champions, we’ll make sure that you don’t tip too far one way or the other.

Tony: 33:58 That’s good. Uh, Lance, any, any final thoughts?

Lance: 34:01 Well, I think first off the intentionality to make sure that you’re going to go after both. And like Amy said, you may not have the wiring to really lead one side or the other. But I think as senior leaders go, we’re committed to nothing less than being absolutely healthy and also high performing. And so put a stake in the ground that you’re going to go after both. But the kind of final thought I would have is think about your church budget. I know we all love to do that. You know, I had my quiet time out of our church’s budget this morning, but think about your church budget… In almost every church I’ve ever known the single biggest line item is personnel. We’re investing more resources, more dollars in the staff that we hire.

Lance: 34:55 And the stakes are incredibly high with your team. And I think we all intuitively feel this, but I just want to articulate it for us. Your church’s kingdom impact is absolutely and directly tied to your ability to build a healthy and high-performing team. You’re not going to get after the mission and vision that God’s given you if the team is in shambles or if or if there’s toxicity or all your sideways energy is spent on managing dysfunction. But you’re also not going to really be all that God wants you to be if you are goal-driven and hard driving, but you crush your team and the process and we’re people in the church that we’re both about the means and the ends. It’s both. It’s, getting after the end goal of the great commission, but also how we do it and how we do it with our team really matters. And so I think all of this topic is very much tied to how much we’re going to be able to impact our community.

Sean: 36:01 Well, thanks for joining us on this week’s podcast at the Unstuck Group, we’re working everyday with church leaders to help them build healthy churches by guiding them through specifically designed experiences that focus them on vision, strategy and action. If that’s a need in your church, we’d love to talk. You can start a conversation with us by visiting us @theunstuckgroup.com. If you like what you’re hearing on this podcast, we’d love your help in getting the word out. You can do that by subscribing on your favorite podcasting platform, giving us a review and telling your friends. Next week we start a two part series on the 10 things that unstuck churches are doing right. Until then, have a great week.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
, , , ,
Tony Morgan

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group. 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.
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Loading Facebook Comments ...

No Trackbacks.