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Top Posts of 2014 #4: “The Four Stages of a Church Staff Team”

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I’m always looking for great word pictures for leadership systems and structures in the local church. Apparently other people are too, because this was the 4th most popular post on Helping Churches Make Vision Real this year!

If you’ve ever been a part of a growing church you know that growth changes everything. Especially the relational, organizational and working dynamics of the staff team. Larry Osborne, Lead Pastor at North Coast Church writes the following in his book Sticky Teams:

“Never forget growth changes everything. A storefront church, a midsized church, a large church, and a mega-church aren’t simply bigger versions of the same thing. They are completely different animals. They have little in common, especially relationally, organizationally, and structurally.”

Fortunately I’ve had the opportunity to sit down with Larry and hear him expound on this idea and talk about what he describes as, “The Four Stages of a Team.”

Stage 1: Track Star

The track star performs alone. They may train with others and their score may affect an overall team win, but they operate by themselves. This is the solo pastor. Typical Church Size: 0-150

Stage 2: Golfing Buddies

At this stage the church staff is highly relational. They enjoy deep relationships and doing life together outside of work. They’re doing what they love with people that they like. Typical Church Size: 150-600

Stage 3: Basketball Team

Basketball is a team sport not a friendship sport. It requires working together, trusting one another and sharing the ball. While there are still meaningful relationships, genuine camaraderie, and a shared sense of purpose; there are too many players for everyone to be best friends. On a basketball team there are star players and role players. And they’re paid differently due to the role that they play. Typical Church Size 600-2,000

Stage 4: Football Team

This is the most drastic and difficult change. And it’s the reason why so many churches get stuck and so few ever break 2,000. Football can be a dangerous game if you think you’re still playing track, golf, or basketball. In the game of football there are highly specialized roles and team work is essential. The offense, defense and special teams all have different playbooks. Often times the offense isn’t even watching what the defense is doing while they’re on the field and visa-verse. They’re preparing for the next time they’re on the field. Everyone no longer knows what everyone else is doing. When the defense adds a new blitz package without telling the offensive line, the offensive line doesn’t care. They’re just glad someone sacked the opposing teams quarterback. And even in football there are different levels of the game. There is a big difference in talent, coaching, speed of the game, and complexity between High School, D1 College, and the NFL. Typical Church Size: 2,000+

Photo Credit: PowerMax Energy via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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