When it comes to leadership, no church can afford to hang a sign on its front door announcing, “NO HELP WANTED!” (Howard G. Hendricks)

Every church longs for good leadership—men and women of sterling character and cutting-edge competency, motivated not by self-interest but by self-sacrifice, leaders who model the Lord Jesus—lead pastors, associate pastors, staff personnel, elder, deacons, and ministry leaders.

Unfortunately, many hesitate to receive a church leadership baton. Plenty of openings, but fewer and fewer candidates. The problem is not that new:

“I searched for a man among them who should stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found no one.” (Ezekiel 22:30)

Without good leadership—confusion replaces vision, dreams diminish, dedication wanes, morale erodes, enthusiasm fades, cynicism and criticism poison the atmosphere. Sooner or later the whole organization grinds to a halt.

Paul wrote to Timothy that if one desired (strong word) to be a leader in God's church, it's a noble thing they desire. (1 Timothy 3:1) Though many look down on church leadership today, it's quite noble in God’s eyes, even dignified to be a church leader. It's one of the best things you could ever become.

Observe how God views His church (1 Timothy 3:15).  It's:

  • the household of God, suggesting the warmth and intimacy of a family, a family gathered together, because God is family oriented.
  • the church of the living God, suggesting excitement, power, and vitality because God Himself is at the heart of life. The worst thing a church could be beside dead is boring.
  • the pillar and support of the truth, suggesting the church upholds and dispenses the truth. One of the reasons the church is in existence is to introduce truth back into a world saturated with error and fantasy, a world living in make-believe.


What an honor to be a leader in God’s supernatural body who, as a leader, can impact people of all ages at the deepest levels of their life, who can live out the in-living Christ before others, who can see lives changed, who can love, respect, value, challenge, inspire, disciple, and counsel those in God’s flock for His glory and by His grace. And, when leaders serve with the right heart, greatness is attached. (Mark 10:43, 44)

Great Traits of a Great Team - Part 5

Before sharing another trait of a great team, read Chuck Swindoll's teamwork illustration. Don't assume it's for the birds!

It's those stately geese I find especially impressive. Winging their way to a warmer climate, they often cover thousands of miles before reaching their destination. Have you ever studied why they fly as they do? It is fascinating to read what has been discovered about their flight pattern as well as their in-flight habits. Four come to mind.           

1. Those in front rotate their leadership. When one lead goose gets tired, it changes places with one in the wing of the V-formation and another flies the point.

2. By flying as they do, the members of the flock create an upward air current for one another. Each flap of the wings literally creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. One author states that by flying in a V-formation, the whole flock gets 71 percent greater flying range than if each goose flew on its own.

3. When one goose gets sick or wounded, two fall out of formation with it and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with the struggler until it's able to fly again.

4. The geese in the rear of the formation are the ones who do the honking. I suppose it's their way of announcing that they're following and that all is well. For sure, the repeated honks encourage those in front to stay at it. As I think about all this, one lesson stands out above all others: it is the natural instinct of geese to work together. Whether it's rotating, flapping, helping, or simply honking, the flock is in it together...which enables them to accomplish what they set out to do.

I appreciate that last part. “. . . “it is the natural instinct of geese to work together. . . the flock is in it together. . . which enables them to accomplish what they set out to do.” That describes a healthy team, a great team following your leadership direction, working together, flying together, accomplishing what it set out to do.

Great Trait # 8: Great Teams Affirm the Strengths of Other Team Members and Protect their Weaknesses.

Unfortunately, many organizations adhere to the opposite of this principle—being jealous of each other's strengths and taking advantage of each other's weaknesses. In that environment, the leader uses his/her strengths to get their own way and exploit weaknesses to gain competitive advantage. Where there is good leadership, protection, not control, characterizes the team environment. Bill Thrall distinguishes between protection and control this way:

 Protection says, “I love you and accept you for who you are, and I will stand alongside you in your weaknesses to free your potential.” Control says, “Your distasteful behavior stands between us and you must change before I will love you or let you love me.” (Leading from Strengths: A Manual for Christian Leadership Teams)

Leadership guru Peter Drucker wrote, “The purpose of the team is to make strengths productive and weaknesses irrelevant.”

I’ll share a final trait next week. It brings together all the other traits

Great Traits of a Great Team - Part 4

The Battle of Britain, lasting from August 8th to October 31st, cost the Germans 2,375 planes destroyed in daylight alone and more at night. It cost the British 375 pilots killed and 358 wounded. A handful of RAF fliers had saved Britain, and perhaps the world from destruction. Do you remember how Winston Churchill spoke for his people? “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few!” That victory was achieved, you see, not by the top-ranking generals, the brass hats, the big shots, but by young men---a team---playing and fighting . . . and dying together. (Peter Marshall, Mr. Jones, Meet the Master)

Your leadership succeeds with the teams, the men and women God knits together, sharing the same vision, communicating and listening well, enjoying each other, and valuing each other's contributions. Ken Blanchard says, “None of us is as smart as all of us together.”

Great Trait #6: Great Teams Value Constructive Disagreement and Healthy Tension

Every team, even the great ones, have disagreement and conflict. It's a given. If there are no disagreements someone isn't thinking.

Patrick Lenconi (The Five Dysfunctions of a Team) suggests there are real differences between teams that avoid conflict like the plague and those that approach conflict productively.


·      have boring meetings

·      ignore controversial topics that are critical to team success

·      fail to tap into all the opinions and perspectives of team members

·      play politics outside the team meetings

·      take forever to solve problems


·      have lively, interesting meetings

·      extract and explore the ideas of all team members

·      solve real problems quickly

·      minimize politics

·      put critical topics on the table for discussion.

The issue is handling disagreement properly. DISAGREEMENT is necessary, but it must not grow into DIVISION.

Here are some pointers:

·      Members must be free and feel safe to express opinions even if they disagree with others.

·      Allow for differences to be expressed.

·      Don't avoid differences or make compromises to benefit the short term.

Great Trait #7: Great Teams Believe in Shared Work/Shared Glory

On a great team, everyone shares together in the joy and glory of an accomplished task. No soccer player wins a game by himself or herself. All the players are needed to score the goal and all the players share in the victory.


NOT: “Look what I did”

BUT: “Look what we accomplished


The last two traits of a great team next time. . .

Servant Leaders Think Team

I'll always remember him—Robert Turnberger, my high school baseball coach. Rumor had it he paid a reporter to spell his name correctly. In 1962, our team won the South Jersey Region 2 title under Coach T's leadership. School Board wouldn’t let us go to State. We were THE Pleasantville High School Greyhounds and we were good. No brag, just fact!

The ‘Hounds weren't a mass collection of superstar athletes. The only “star” on the team was the team. Coach took what he had and built us into a winning unit. Everything we did we did as a team. We played as a team on the field and teamed together off the field.

We sat next to each other in classes, studied and ate lunch together.

We never left the locker room for practice unless we went together.

We even had team songs, which we knew better than the school Alma Mater.

We were a team and we were successful.

When servant leadership invades your life, you discover leadership is a team effort, not a one-man show. No individual is as strong or as smart as all of us together. SERVANT LEADERS COMMIT THEMSELVES TO BUILDING AN EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP TEAM WITH A SHARED VISION, PURPOSE, AND METHODS.

Vision may be initiated by an individual (a pastor, coach, president, supervisor, manager) but vision is best fulfilled by a team which shares the vision. A leader's vision is only as good as the team that fulfills it. Coach T embraced a vision for us to be the best team in South Jersey in 1962.  The Greyhounds caught his vision and got it done.

God believes in teamwork.

The Trinity is a team: Father, Son, Holy Spirit

Exodus 18: Moses' division of labor

Gideon's 300

David's Mighty Men

The 12 Apostles

The Missionary Teams of Paul and Barnabas, Paul and Silas, Barnabas and John Mark.

Paul's leadership teams of elders and deacons after he planted churches.

How wise are Solomon's words: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up.” Ecclesiastes 4: 9, 10.


Peter Drucker wrote:

Effective leaders never say 'I.' They don't think 'I'. They think 'we'; they think 'team.' They understand their job is to make the team function. They accept the responsibility and don't sidestep it, but 'we' gets the credit.”

Coach T. would agree. Do you?

Servant Leadership in Action

It was the night before the execution, Roman style; not a lethal injection, but a public hanging on a cross, for the world to see and remember. But first, the Passover Meal.

Jesus and His disciples make their way to an Upper Room along a dust-covered street. At the house, a servant stood at the front door to wash the feet of guests as they arrived. This night the foot washer didn't show and no disciple volunteered to replace him. Ever wonder why? Maybe they thought. . .

I’m not a foot washer; not me; not my job.”

I'll do hands---maybe; not feet.”

I'm not a slave.”

Have a slipped disc; Doctor recommends no bending or stooping.”

I'm hungry. Need to eat.”

Each one walks in the front door, looks around the room at the dinner table, and takes a seat.

Then Jesus enters. He walks to the table, sitting between John and Judas. He notices the dirty feet of his men reclining at the table. He doesn't say much. Maybe He remembers His sermons, His challenges, His teachings about serving one another, about greatness. Maybe he thought. . .

Did it do any good?”

Will no one have the humility to wash even my feet?”

My death is imminent.”

Will no one serve me?”

When no one makes a move, Jesus makes His. Quietly, as the others ate, He slips away from the table, removes His outer robe, wraps a towel around His waist, and takes in hand a pitcher of water, a basin, and towel. Without saying a word (until He gets to Peter) He carefully washes the feet of each disciple.






Jesus even washed the feet of Judas. JUDAS! Backstabber. Betrayer. Backslider. Conspirator. Double-crosser. His picture hangs in the same Hall of Shame as Benedict Arnold.

Knowing what Judas the Fink was up to, Jesus stooped down, removed Judas’s sandals, and washed his feet without a word.

Servant leaders stoop to meet needs. They're foot washers. They get involved in people's lives. Servant leadership is doing---not talking about it in board meetings, or preaching it in sermons. Jesus said, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. . . Now that you know these things, you will be blessed IF YOU DO THEM.”




Is servant leadership just a “church” thing, something only for pastors, their staff, ministry leaders? Does servant leadership fit into the world of business leadership? Do the principles of servant leadership work for:

            · A corporate executive at AT&T?

            · A president of an airline?

            · A business entrepreneur?

            · A general manager at Starbucks?

            · A doctor, dentist, lawyer?

            · A school principal? A schoolteacher?

            · A little league coach?

Jesus knows your environment whether it's pastoral, business, athletic or school related. Remember, He spent the first thirty years of His earthly life in the family's carpentry business. He knew what it was to work with His hands, earn a living, make decisions, deal with customers, and be exhausted at the end of a day.

 Would you hire the Lord Jesus to be your leadership consultant? Does He have the expertise to deal with the leadership issues you face every day? Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges in their fine book Lead Like Jesus (pages 16&17), reflect on some leadership challenges Jesus encountered:

            · Working with or living and caring for imperfect people.

            · Taking time to train, develop, and delegate

            ·  Under constant scrutiny and testing of commitment and integrity

            ·  Facing fierce competition and conflicting demands from friends and foes

            · Tempted by instant gratification, recognition, misuse of power

            · Facing serious personnel issues, including turnover and betrayal

            · Commitment in a multicultural environment.

            · The need to challenge the status quo and hierarchy to bring about change

            · The need to call attention to poor leadership at great personal risk

            · The need to put career or relationships on the line to serve a higher purpose

            · In your darkest hour, to be abandoned by your friends

When you hire a consultant, you want the best. So why not bring in the Lord Jesus, who is perfect in everything? He's not just smart, He's brilliant. He's the smartest, the wisest man who ever lived. He always has the best information on everything and certainly on the things that matter most in human life. AND, “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. . . For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are---yet was without sin.” (Hebrews 2:18; 4:15)

Why Are You in Leadership?

So, you're a leader. Congratulations!  And with your leadership come certain perks and benefits; maybe: a nice salary (more than others on your staff), reserved parking space for your company car, comfortable office with picture windows, expense account, iPhone and iPad, laptop, gasoline mileage, health club membership, etc., all provided because you're a leader.

Imagine for a moment that you didn't have this lifestyle and these benefits. Would you still be a leader?

What if no one had to think your way was always the best way? What if you didn't always have to have the final word? What if you had to listen more than you spoke? What if being “in charge” meant that your job was to see others succeed, to put them and their interests first? What if those you led got ALL the credit and you weren't acknowledged?  Would you still want to lead?

What if all you received was the pleasure of seeing others grow to greater character, achieve more than even they imagined, and you were the spark, the catalyst, the mentor throughout the process? They received the applause, the “well done,” the pat on the back, and respect from others. And no one knew what you did or cared. Would you still be motivated to lead? Could you handle NOT being in the spotlight?

Servant Leadership is hard work; it's a tough deal; impossible at times. Perhaps it should come with a Surgeon General's Warning: Servant leadership may cause headache, nausea, loss of appetite, loss of sleep, anxiety, indecision, loneliness, depression, and stress.

Here's a question every servant leader must ask, “What am I in it for?” If we're in it only for ourselves, we'll do more getting than giving, expect more from others and less from ourselves, be more willing to be served than to serve. Servant leaders are into self-sacrifice, not self-promotion, like the Lord Jesus, who “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of the servant. . . and became obedient to death----EVEN death on a cross!” (Philippians 2: 7, 8) He served so well it killed Him.


by Dr. Fred C. Campbell

Leadership is a risky business. The fine art of sailing an organization through stormy waters can endanger not only the leader, but also the followers on board.

E.J. Smith, Captain of the Titanic, knows. Foolishly ignoring six iceberg warnings, he ordered the crew “FULL SPEED AHEAD.” Why?

This would be the Captain’s final voyage before retirement and he wanted to arrive ahead of schedule.

On April 14, around 11:30 PM, a 100′ iceberg scraped the Titanic’s side, slicing open over 200′ of the ship. The boat immediately flooded with water. At 2:30 AM, the unsinkable ocean liner sank in the frigid waters of the Atlantic Ocean with 1500 passengers, the Captain and crew. Only 712 survived.


Leaders are like captains. They set the direction, determine the speed, command the crew, and assume responsibility for those on board. When leaders (like Capt. Smith) take risks for their benefit only without regard for others, they chart a dangerous path to a collision.

Leadership is at its best when it moves from self-serving to self-sacrificial. It’s the way Jesus led, the world’s finest and only perfect leader for all time, for all organizations, for all people, for all situations.