Leading a Church Plant Team

I had a great time with a mate today discussing how we are going as a team. One of the things we discussed was the way in which a team like ours needs to be led.

He suggested that I should consider leading more strongly – setting the pace a bit more and giving more direction. I haven’t done a lot of this – but it has been very intentional. It even goes against my natural leadership style.

But… I still believe it is the right thing to do.

You see in an established church of 200 people when the pastor / leader says ‘here is the vision – lets go!’ 30 or 40 people say ‘yeah! Count me in’. Around another 50 say hmmm, looks good, lets check it out, 50 say hmmmm…. not so sure convince me and the rest refuse to get on board.

BUT… right or wrong, in an established church with a significant core of 40 or so followers you can generate momentum and the ‘uncertain/dissenters’ can be sometimes be won or board or encouraged to go somewhere else.

You know the line ‘if you’re not on board with the vision then maybe this isn’t the church for you’. And maybe that is true. Churches can’t be all things to all people.

But in a team of 14 people you can’t operate in the same way. I have been figuring this out as I have been going, but I am increasingly convinced that especially at this stage we need to make significant decisions as a team and I need to accept a more facilitative role.


Because if I ‘lead strongly’, give direction and call people to it, I might get them there by strength of personality and their reluctance to challenge my covictions, but if they haven’t been a vital part of setting the direction and if they don’t own the direction deeply they aren’t really on board and may well bale when things get difficult.

Right now I think we need to move together more than we need to move quickly.

I wish I could nobly say that this is a way of leading that I enjoy and find easy, but it has actually been pretty frustrating at times. I think I know the answers to many of the question we face – I have been chewing them around for a looong time.

free needful things But we need to deal with these foudational community shaping decisions together as they need to be our answers – not just my answers.

At the moment the issues we face as a team are because we have decided together to choose the route we are on. I don’t feel deep personal responsibility for our struggles because we have moved together and decided on this course together. We are all responsible for where we are at – both the good and the bad – and truth be told there isn’t much bad.

Maybe the day will come when our mission team needs a different type of leadership from me, maybe not…

I am enjoying the journey God has got me on leading more instinctively and trusting those feelings rather than trusting my tried and tested methods.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *