Tag Archive - competency


2 Fatal Church Leadership Mistakes

When it comes to leading a church, there a lot of things that can go wrong that are outside of a pastor’s control. However, the other side of that coin is also true. There are a lot of wrong things that pastors do that are well within their control.

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination. There are all kinds of things I’ve seen church leaders do to sabotage themselves. But the following two mistakes are so common and so easy to solve that I couldn’t help identifying them.

Choosing Availability over Competency

Churches are notorious for choosing the available person over taking the time to search for or develop a competent person. Just because someone shows up doesn’t mean they’ll show out. I’ve seen churches choose staff too many times based on convenience. They’ll elevate a volunteer to a staff role because they’re a faithful volunteer and great at doing ministry or delivering tasks on time. I hope you don’t mishear me, I am all for developing internal talent, in fact about 75% of the staff who work at Sun Valley (the church I have the privilege of serving at) have been developed and hired internally. Unfortunately, just because someone can deliver tasks on time doesn’t mean they can build a team and lead others to do the tasks of ministry. It’s one thing to lead by doing, it’s a completely other thing to be able to delegate tasks to others or empower them to make decisions. Churches are also guilty of over promoting young talent too quickly because they see “something special” in them instead of developing that young talent. Promoting and developing aren’t the same thing. While it’s certainly more convenient to choose someone who’s already around and available it doesn’t always prove to be the right move.

Being a Discourager instead of an Encourager

When a good team member does something wrong, nine times out of ten they already know it. Every once in a while, (that 1 time in 10) you may need to point it out. You may need to check in with them to make sure you’re both seeing the same thing the same way, but good team members don’t need over coaching. They don’t need someone to be harsh with them or pick and point out every little thing they did wrong. They need encouragement. They need someone to believe in them and help lift their attitude, because when you lift someone’s attitude you lift their performance. You can’t play a good game with a bad attitude. Here’s the thing, even a mediocre performing team member doesn’t get any better when you rub their nose in a mistake they made. Taking an over critical or harsh approach discourages people, lowers their performance, and it demotivates. Do that long enough and all you’ll have left on your team are low performers. As a leader your words carry incredible power and weight. Use them to build people up and move them in the right direction.

If you’re a church leader and you struggle with either of these two pitfalls the first step you need to take is be honest with yourself, then be honest with your team and apologize to them. Own it. Then change your approach. It’s within your power to change. You can do this!

Posted in Leadership


How to get People to Follow You

Leadership can be a funny thing. It’s more than just influence. And while anyone can learn leadership principles the Bible teaches us that leadership is a spiritual gift. The easiest way to tell if you have the spiritual gift of leadership is to look and see if people are following you. But how do you get people to follow you?

Moral Authority

Church leaders can’t lead at a very high level very long without leading with moral authority. These leaders are who they say they are and who they appear to be. They don’t ask people to do something that you aren’t willing to do yourself.


You might be able to fake it for a while, but eventually your level of competency will catch up to you. If you want people to follow you then you’ve got to actually be able to do your job. You have to know what you’re doing. You have to deliver. And as your level of responsibility and authority goes up your capacity to learn has to go up as well.


Trust is the fuel that leadership runs on. When trust is high there is an environment for momentum, wins are celebrated, and people follow leadership because they believe in the leader and where the leader is taking them. When trust is low skepticism runs high, progress comes to a screeching halt, and the tenure of the leader is short-lived. 


Relationships are built up close and over time. But they can be destroyed in a moment. People follow people who love them, listen to them, are vulnerable with them and exercise authentic humility. Lead out of your weakness and you’ll never run out of material, and people will be able to relate to you.

Posted in Leadership


training with larry osborne part-1 “leadership lids of complexity and competency”

Like most of you I’ve been a part of churches that have invested large sums of money and time to send their staff to a conference together. I love the fact that many churches are willing to invest in their staff and I love how inspiring conferences can be! In fact I usually walk away with my thinking challenged and a few new ideas to implement. However, I’ve actually found it more economical and effective to bring an expert in to spend more intimate time with our team. The training you get is more personal, customized to your situation, and conversational (you can actually get your specific questions answered). Recently we had Larry Osborne come in to spend time with the Staff at Sun Valley. We intentionally designed for him to invest in our Executive Team, our Elders, as well as a day of training with all of our staff from all three of our campuses. By the way it was great to be able to have a couple of guys from my current Coaching Network sit in on the day of training with our staff! Below are some of my thoughts and take aways from our time together:

Ceilings of Complexity and Competency

1. Every Leader and Every Organization hits a Leadership Ceiling at some point

  • We outgrow our leadership skills
  • We outgrow our organizational structures
  • We can be blindsided by a major cultural shift

2. How to Recognizing Ceilings

  • Any ministry that has stagnant or declining attendance
  • Marked increase in conflict
  • Protecting the Past trumps Creating the Future
  • Revolving Door Syndrome
  • Long term personal spiritual stagnation
  • Mission Creep

3. How to Break through Ceilings

  • These 3 things come natural and are actually a trap:
    • Effort: work harder
    • Efficiency: work smarter
    • Quality: work better
  • What happens when these 3 things don’t work?
    • New Advisors:
      • You have to get outside of your tribe
      • We first go to “me” then we go to “my team” and then we go to “my tribe”
      • All of the solutions to your biggest problems are going to be found outside of your tribe
    • New Expectations:
      • Expectations are really about 3 things you have to give up: Power, Prestige, and Position
    • New Organizational Structures:
      • Address whatever counter productive organizational structures you have (traditions, how you make decisions, etc.)

I’ll post the rest of the notes tomorrow: Part 2 “Why Some Teams Win and Most Lose”

Posted in Leadership