Natural Church Development/Good To Great, Part 3

Like I said, these two books have rocked my world when it comes to ideas about leadership and church health. I already posted on the first of the 8 NCD quality characteristics, Empowering Leadership (the G2G equivalent would be Level 5 Leadership). Now the next one and the G2G quality that goes along with it.


This is so key to a successful organisation, but I believe it's probably also the most difficult. From a ministry standpoint, you can't always hire or fire carte blanche to meet your needs. As pastors we are called to lead with humility and compassion. As we develop leaders, we have to think not only what's best for our church, but of what's best for the individual. Sometimes this means being patient through a less-than-ideal situation while a particular leader is learning and developing

However, most of the time this is not really the issue. The main issue tends to be making the mistake of putting the wrong people in the wrong positions. As pastors, we believe that God has uniquely gifted each Christian for a specific Kingdom purpose. But most of the time we recruit volunteers frantically in order to fill a position. Little thought is put into whether the individual's gifts match up with ministry.

In NCD, the healthy, growing churches that were studied were effectively utilizing people according to their giftedness. This requires effort to help people discover their spiritual gifts. It also requires flexibility in our thinking. Too often, God burdens someone's heart to create a ministry that we haven't even considered. When we free people up to start the ministries they are passionate about (and that don't contradict the overall ministry of the church), incredible, unexpected things happen. We have seen this happen in our church on several occasions in 2007. It may mean that your pet ministry has to wait (or even die), but God works everything in His time.

In G2G, the great companies always focused on getting the right people on board before they decided on the direction the company would take. People are more important than vision statements or ideas. In Good To Great and the Social Sectors, Collins recognizes that this can be a challenge for churches and other social organisations. His recommendation was to treat every new hire like an extended interview. Carefully evaluate new hires during their first 6-12 months. If it becomes obvious that they are not a good match to your church, cut them loose as quickly as possible, so that the right person can be found and less overall damage is done. This advice is probably not easy for most pastors to heed, because we are in the business of second chances and forgiveness. However, I have found in my own ministry there is great wisdom in setting short-term objectives with new volunteers. When I get a new person started in a ministry, I often say, "Let's meet in 3 months and re-evaluate things." A lot of times if things aren't working out, the volunteer feels it just as strongly and would appreciate an opportunity to make a graceful exit and try a different ministry.

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