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2 key questions new leadership teams must answer


There are two key questions new leadership teams must answer in my experience.

Whenever I get involved in a new team, whether it’s called an eldership, a senior leadership team, a board, etc., these are the two questions I find it is essential to find the answer to early on.

The questions do not apply if the new leadership teams have no team leader.

There are some Newfrontiers churches that operate a team leadership without a team leader. They are rare; but they do exist. Or they exist for a season because no team leader has been identified.

My experience suggests that ultimately a team needs a team leader to drive it forwards… but I have also seen healthy churches that are led by teams without a team leader.

My two questions also may not apply in those cases where church government is different from how it is in our network of churches.

But where there is team leadership, and where that team has a team leader, the team must know the answer to these two questions, and so must the church. This is specially useful in the case of new leadership teams. And even adding a new member means a team is new.

About forms of government…

In the church movement where I serve we have a combination of episcopal, presbyterian and congregational government, with the primacy placed with the presbyters.

So we say that each church belongs to its presbyters. However, each church also willingly participates in the mission of an apostolic movement (the episcopal dimension, if you will). New presbyters are appointed by the existing presbyters in conference with the apostolic team. Additionally, to bring in the third strand, while church members do not elect the presbyters, the congregation are invited to bring forward Biblical concerns or objections about the appointment of any individual presbyter. This can and sometimes does mean appointments do not go ahead. At the end of the day if people will not follow you, you are not a leader!

Ongoing government of the church rests with the presbyters in our practice. That is the group that settles doctrine, defines what are close-handed or open-handed doctrines, sets practices, appoints people to the various roles, determines how money is spent and buildings are utilised, works to bring everyone’s talents to bear on the mission of the kingdom in the area and beyond, for the glory of God, etc.

What are the 2 key questions this team needs to answer?

Key question 1 is: Does the team leader lead the team or lead the church?

It’s very simple. Does the team leader lead the church, or does the team lead the church, and the team leader lead the team that leads the church?

If you can answer that question clearly you are on the way to structuring your team well.

New leadership teams
New leadership teams – holding hands

Key question 2: Can the team leader alone outvote all the other team members?

This is not often the case in our movement but, in practice, it is the case in some situations – and often this has occurred without anyone choosing that it should be so.

Generally speaking when the team leader leads the team, the team is flatter – a team of equals. And if the team leader alone can outvote everyone else, then that team is akin to a wheel in which the team leader is the hub and the other team members are like the spokes.

The main concern in such teams is what the team leader thinks. Their opinion will be definitive. In that scenario, the mission and vision of the church are defined by that one person. Whatever they say, whether in the team or from the pulpit, is de facto the direction, the policy, the beliefs of that church. Whether you think that arrangement of the team is ideal in the long run is for you to decide… but if it is the reality, then it is best to know that and work with it. These two questions help new leadership teams to make the way they work explicit.

There is much else that can be said about leadership and teams (for example, see this post) but these are two key questions you must answer.



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