Teams are not a toy, yet so many leaders treat them like a personal playground. A popular leader recently tweeted out,
“It’s foolish to go where the team can’t take you. Change the team or change the dream.#leadership”
BUT, teams are MORE than a means to an end. What about a 3rd option where we develop people instead of treating them like tools for a job
Biblical teams are more than a strategy, so today I want to look at 6 characteristics of the teams Paul served with in the New Testament and how we can implement his approach for better team leadership.
First, Paul’s approach to team development placed little emphasis on titles that distinguished him from his co-laborers. The synergy of roles defined through the use of giftings produces strong momentum for the team.
Second, Paul used the power of consensus leadership to develop teams. Consensus leadership does not preclude the need for good decision-making, but rather it places an emphasis on each person as an equal. See 1 Thes 2:6 “…we might have asserted our authority.”
Third, Paul developed teams that he could trust with difficult decisions. He did not have to override their decisions because he relied upon his training and the equipping of the Holy Spirit to ensure that the church would stay strong.
Fourth, Paul demonstrated flexibility within team roles.
Fifth, following the example of Jesus, Paul knew that successful leadership was defined by the ability to invest in other people who could in turn invest in other people and establish a chain of generational leadership.
Finally, it is impossible to close this segment of today’s show without mentioning the centrality of Jesus Christ throughout the mission of the church. The headship of the church was, and is, Christ alone who forms the thoughts and mission of the church.
In my one of my first radio broadcasts in 2013, I talked about the Power of Generational Leadership. I define Generational Leadership as the intentional integration of the past, present and future for mission of the eternal. GL is leading through intergenerational teams. A Generational Leader allows others to lead from their strengths rather than compensate for their weaknesses. A GL helps others do their best rather then leaving them on their own to “earn their stripes.” 2 Corinthians 10:7-18 outlines six marks of a true Generational Leader.
Mark #1: A Generational Leadership is not exclusive (v.7)
Biblical leaders know that their mission is to make other leaders and not keep “power” for themselves. They give away power, sacrifice rights, and serve others. That’s easy to say and hard to live out because we live in a time when a lot of pastors build churches and execute vision based on their absolute authority as the “head” of the church.
Mark #2: Generational Leadership builds up (v.8)
Martin Luther King, Jr was spot-on when he said, “I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be.”. A true generational leader will always share the credit, give away the applause, and hold others above himself/herself.
Mark #3: Generational Leadership is NOT validated through“personal” accomplishment (v.10)
A leader does not try to prove their place by showing others their resume. Simply put, just because you have a long list of accomplishments, does not mean that you are a good leader; pleasing to the Lord.
Mark #4: Generational Leadership is validated through “people” accomplishment (v.13)
The corollary to Mark #4 is simply this; leaders are established through the fruit of the lives of those they lead. If the people in your church have a penchant for arrogance; that is your legacy. If your congregation is known for its love and service, that is your resume.
Mark #5: Generational Leadership rejoices in the success of others (v.15)
Helping others achieve success will never diminish you as a leader. Leadership is not a competition. Leadership is not about rising above the crowd, but helping the crowd to rise above.
Mark #6: Generational Leadership rests in the authority that comes from God alone (v.18)
Authority is something only God can possess and leaders can express. I have known way to many men who lead by intimidation; who use their title as a hammer to pound others into submission. And if your goal is to make your vision a reality, that approach works, but it is not the right use of authority and it is not the mark of a Generational Leader.
Remember, Generational leadership is the intentional integration of the past, present and future for mission of the eternal. GL can only be accomplished when everyone understands that in the church family, every follower of Jesus is a member, every member is a minister and every minister is a leader.
On Thursday April 11, 2013 I launched my weekly radio broadcast of Christian Leadership Radio at http://christianleadershipradio.com. This show is reflects years of dreaming about much needed change in how Christians lead and more than three months of planning with the Alive in Christ Radio Network. The topic of my first show presented 5 Keys to Deconstructing Christian Leadership.
1. You Can’t Lead Yourself
Self-leadership is the ultimate narcissism. Its like saying, if you want to be a great husband, be a good husband to yourself. OR If you want to be a good parent, practice parenting yourself. It is true that you can manage your actions, but leadership is a relationship—it requires more than one person.
2. You Can’t Lead Without Following
Following is the not the stepping stone to leadership. It is not a hierarchy of the powerful rising above the weak.Christian- Leadership is never the next-step “beyond” following. Followers don’t graduate into leaders, they continue following in one area while learning to lead in another.
3. You Can’t Lead Alone
The New Testament does not know anything of leadership outside the context of teams. Leaders must lead through community. It is true that for some people the word “teams” is just another word for a group of more talented followers, but real team-leadership is about a group of equals sharing the pleasure of service and the burden of authority.
4. You Can’t Lead Forever
Eventually you will die and what will your legacy be as a leader? Some situations demand you follow. Every situation demands that you lead for the next generation. My name will be forgotten, but I live so that the name of Jesus will not!
5. You Can’t Lead to Gain
The Christian leader leads to lose… to sacrifice.. to serve.. to love. The Scripture tells us that Jesus’ disciplesargued about who was greatest & Jesus said, “If you want to be first, be the very last, and the servant of all (Mark 9:34-35). Therefore, my mission is to be an average man among an exceptional Church rather than an exceptional man among an average Church.
In his message, Dr. Miller retells the narrative of David and Saul in their struggle to overcome bad decisions and find hope in the midst of overwhelming disaster..
Choose Your Own Adventure
Cliffhanger #1: How did David get stranded?
1 Samuel 28:1–2 (ESV)
1 In those days the Philistines gathered their forces for war, to fight against Israel. And Achish said to David, “Understand that you and your men are to go out with me in the army.” 2 David said to Achish, “Very well, you shall know what your servant can do.” And Achish said to David, “Very well, I will make you my bodyguard for life.”
To be continued…
Cliffhanger #2: How did Saul get stranded?
1 Samuel 28:3 (ESV)
Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his own city. And Saul had put the mediums and the necromancers out of the land.
2.Saul chose the wrong road.
1 Samuel 28:4–5 (ESV)
The Philistines assembled and came and encamped at Shunem. And Saul gathered all Israel, and they encamped at Gilboa. 5 When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly.
3.Saul trusted his own sense of direction.
1 Samuel 28:6–7 (ESV)
6 And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets. 7 Then Saul said to his servants, “Seek out for me a woman who is a medium that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “Behold, there is a medium at En-dor.”
4.Saul rejected his real family.
1 Samuel 28:15–17 (ESV)
15 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Saul answered, “I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. Therefore I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do.” 16 And Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has turned from you and become your enemy? 17 The Lord has done to you as he spoke by me, for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David.
5.Saul gave into despair.
1 Samuel 28:18–20 (ESV)
Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day. 19 Moreover, the Lord will give Israel also with you into the hand of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons shall be with me. The Lord will give the army of Israel also into the hand of the Philistines.” 20 Then Saul fell at once full length on the ground, filled with fear because of the words of Samuel. And there was no strength in him, for he had eaten nothing all day and all night.
To be continued…
Cliffhanger #1 Resolved: How Did David Get Going?
1.David trusted his own sense of direction.
1 Samuel 29:8 (NRSV)
David said to Achish, “But what have I done? What have you found in your servant from the day I entered your service until now, that I should not go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?”
2.David followed the wrong leader.
1 Samuel 30:1–4 (NRSV)
Now when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had made a raid on the Negeb and on Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag, burned it down, 2 and taken captive the women and all who were in it, both small and great; they killed none of them, but carried them off, and went their way. 3 When David and his men came to the city, they found it burned down, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 4 Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept, until they had no more strength to weep.
3.David did NOT despair and turned to God.
1 Samuel 30:6–8 (NRSV)
David was in great danger; for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in spirit for their sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. 7 David said to the priest Abiathar son of Ahimelech, “Bring me the ephod.” So Abiathar brought the ephod to David. 8 David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I pursue this band? Shall I overtake them?” He answered him, “Pursue; for you shall surely overtake and shall surely rescue.”
4.David established God-fearing relationships.
1 Samuel 30:26 (NRSV)
When David came to Ziklag, he sent part of the spoil to his friends, the elders of Judah, saying, “Here is a present for you from the spoil of the enemies of the Lord”;
Cliffhanger #2 Resolved: How Did Saul Get Going?
1 Samuel 31:1–6 (NRSV)
Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines, and many fell on Mount Gilboa. 2 The Philistines overtook Saul and his sons; and the Philistines killed Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchishua, the sons of Saul. 3 The battle pressed hard upon Saul; the archers found him, and he was badly wounded by them. 4 Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and thrust me through with it, so that these uncircumcised may not come and thrust me through, and make sport of me.” But his armor-bearer was unwilling; for he was terrified. So Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. 5 When his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword and died with him. 6 So Saul and his three sons and his armor-bearer and all his men died together on the same day.
For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. – Rom. 8:2-4 (ESV)
We in America like to think Freedom for us, and the World, will be achieved because we are a nation of laws. We like to think that our Democracy serves the cause of Freedom, but it does not. All Governments exists to limit our freedom, because left to our own passions society will always degenerate.
Freedom can only exist when there is an absolute unchanging moral standard and a mean by which that standard can be achieved.
In the Old Testament of the Bible we read how a perfect Law was given by YHWH. And while this perfect moral standard pointed the Jews toward what was right, the Law had no power to help them achieve it. A Nation of Laws, like America, points not to what is right, but to what is socially acceptable, and then the Government relies upon the threat of violence to bring conformity.
Only through Jesus Christ do we find both rightness and power. The Son points us to what it always right and has the power of life through the Holy Spirit as the means to transform us.
Some will argue, “I have the power within me. If I set my mind to it, I can achieve my own freedom.” The futility of this approach is evident in the myriad of “self-help” books that fill up countless shelves in the local bookstore. If any of them actually worked, we would not need new books every year with new self-help gurus to promote their new “methods”.
Freedom in the Son is achieved by setting us from from the rat-race of human competition.
It frees us from World’s goal of personal achievement.
It frees us from the competition against our own self-destructive tendencies.
It frees us from the tyranny of human governments and legalism.
Total freedom is found only in the Son because he offers more than a program of “visualization” and “self-actualization”, he offers relationship!
Read more of my article on Faith & Politics @ TheFaithNews.com