“If you desire is to know God, you will know his humility, and then it becomes so easy to submit as part of a team”

The trinity models teamwork

God created by means of his Word and Spirit (Ge 1:2-3; Jo 1:1-3, 1co 8:6)

Ge 1:26 “Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness”

God, Word and Spirit are brought together

Father, Son and Spirit worked together in many verses (Lk 1:26-38), (Mt 3:11;16) Jo 14 (Mt 29:19-20)

In the Trinity, each one has a unique “task” or role in the process known as salvation history.

Leadership teams in new testament

Jesus set the first precedent for church leadership when he “called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles” Lk 6:13.

Patterns of Church leadership

There is no one passage in the Bible that shows a church be governed by one pastor, but the opposite. In Ph 1:1 you can see one example.

Leader Qualifications according 1Tm 3 and Titus 1:

  • Sober-minded
  • Self-controlled
  • Respectable
  • Not violent but gentle
  • Not quarrelsome

Leaders are responsible for the people under their care. Hb 13:17

Company leaders report to the Company Owners. Ministry leaders report to God.

Ministry leaders: take care how you are leading your people, as your responsibility is huge.

No matter what governance structure a church adopts, functioning as leaders in a collaborative manner is certainly part of God’s design for local church leadership.

9 Practical Benefits of team leadership

  1. Greater Productivity – Not everyone is gifted in the same way. When all the gifts are combined, leadership teams are able to outpace the combination of individual contributions.
  2. Less stress and pressure on the lead pastor – Leadership teams take pressure off the organizational senior leader, spreading out the responsibility for organizational leadership to several persons. Check Solomon example in Ec 4:9-10
  3. Greater leadership development – By inviting additional staff into the most crucial conversations about mission, values and strategy, and then inviting the team to make key decisions, team members are spurred to develop their own leadership capacity.
  4. More creativity and innovation – Innovative solutions to pressing problems are more typically developed through collaboration with others.
  5. Better decision making – The issues discussed at the senior level of any organization are often complex, necessitating a breadth of perspectives to address the challenges. Well-staffed and well-structured leadership teams potentially have more information (because of the knowledge brought by each members) and should be able to process it better that individuals, and they bring together people with multiple perspectives and insights into how to respond to those issues.
  6. More safety and accountability – A community of leaders has the ability to maximize a pastor’s strengths. Leadership teams provide a setting where multiple people can lead, reach, preach, strategize, counsel and administrate, which prevents potentially harmful specialization among team members. Teams create a setting for collaboration and cross-training, and important guard church collapse when a senior leader can no longer continue in leadership.
  7. Less loneliness – One of the primary causes of pastoral burnout and turnover is lack of community. The leadership team can share the burdens of personnel issues, resources conflicts and difficult decisions that rise to the top of any organizations.
  8. Greater trust among the congregation – Many staff and congregants who are wary of the pitfalls of one-person leadership find great comfort in knowing that several godly people are involved in shaping the direction of the church.
  9. Provide better organizational leadership – The befits from true teamwork are:
    • Better decision based on greater perspective and information
    • Greater accountability for senior leaders
    • Enhanced productivity that reduces bottlenecks at the executive level
    • Spread out weight of responsibility among several organization leaders
    • Opportunities for leadership development for more staff members or high-capacity lay leaders
    • Grater community and satisfaction among team members.

Why organizations move to leadership teams?

  • to take pressure off the lead pastor
  • to increase representation for decision making
  • to increase coordination across departments or campuses
  • to provide better leadership to the church that the lead pastor alone could provide.

Moving from solo leadership and working groups to a true team.

Single-leader – Is the case that the leader runs the show, with centralized control and authority, with no one questioning his in any decision. However, when that single leader makes a mistake, the church suffers dramatically.

Working Group – Is similar then the single leader. Why? The pastor put a group in place to “lead” the church, but the leader still calls all the shots. Below is a comparison chart about Working groups and Teams, made by Jon Katzenback and Doug Smith.


Working Group Team
One Strong, clearly focused leader Shared leadership roles
Individual accountability Both individuals and mutual accountability
Group’s purpose is same as the broader organization mission Specific team purpose that the team itself delivers
Individual work products Collective work products
Runs efficient meetings Encourages open-ended discussions and active problem-solving meetings
Measures its effectiveness indirectly by it’s influence on others Measures performance directly by assessing collective work products
Discusses, decides and delegates Discusses, decides and does real work together


Are you really a team? The writer Patrick Lencioni advises that you should answer the questions below:

  • Can we keep our egos in check?
  • Are we capable of admitting to mistakes, weaknesses, or insufficient knowledge?
  • Can we speak up openly when we disagree?
  • Will we confront behavioral problems directly?
  • Can we put the success of the team or organization over our own?

If the answer to one or more of these questions is “probably not”, then that group should think twice about declaring themselves a team.

Reflection and discussions questions

  • After reading this chapter, what sticks out to you as the most compelling reason to figure out how to make your leadership team thrive?
  • What challenge is your church facing that would encourage you to more fully adopt a senior leadership team?
  • Of the 9 benefits of team leadership explained in this chapter, which one, if your team could achieve it, would most transform your team’s leadership of your church? What could you do this week to take advantage of that benefit?
  • What gets in the way of your team being a true team rather than merely a work group?
  • What can you do this week to help your leadership group function more like a true team?
  • Where in the Bible do you see “the power of shared leadership?


Assessing your team’s leadership

To what extent does your team truly lead your church?


Superficially Leads Truly Leads
There’s a leadership team on paper, but the pastor really makes all the decisions The leadership team truly leads the church
The leadership team manages minutiae The leadership team makes key strategic decisions.
Membership on the leadership team is a privilege, carrying with it great prestige Membership on the leadership team carries the weight of great responsibility
The team meets only when the lead pastor is in town The team makes regular meetings a serious priority
Staff and congregants talk about the leadership team as individual leaders, but not as a cohesive unit The leadership team is perceived as a unified team with collective outputs.


Common Reasons leadership team fail

How effective is your team’s leadership?


Ineffectively Leads Effectively Leads
The leadership team manages the status quo The leadership team stays in front of the staff and congregation, determining and championing the church’s vision.
The church is stagnant The church is growing
The team sputters without clear direction and purpose The team knows and achieves its unique purpose
Other staff members can’t articulate the specific contribution the leadership team makes Everyone knows the role of the leadership team and relies on it to accomplish it
Most work is done individually; team meetings are just for sharing information with one another Meetings are full of collaborative work
One person holds on to all team leadership functions. Leadership functions are shared among several members of the team
The Team’s development is stagnant The team is getting better at working together, day by day, month by month
Artificial harmony prevails Conflict is cultivated in the interest of making the best decisions
The team is trained to think like the leader and to do what the leaders would do Diverse perspectives are welcomed, encouraged and acted on.
Team members do just enough to get by Team members are internally motivated to produce at a high level
Team members haven’t changed in years Team members are growing personally and professionally through their work on the team.


Two reasons why lead pastors don’t always make good team leaders:

  • Schedule overload: Lead pastors have to preach on Sunday, interact with the elders, counsel, marry, bury, keep an eye on the budget and care for the staff.
  • Elephant in the room: When the lead pastor is also the team leader, his ideas are the best, his opinion is the most important and his decisions are final.


Source: Book Teams that Thrive


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Franciele Hellwig

Franciele Hellwig


Gustavo Hellwig

Gustavo Hellwig