Highly Functioning Teams

A couple weeks ago, I traveled to Houston for continuing education focused on highly functioning teams. It was part of the Advancing Pastoral Leadership program that I have been part of for several years. We had the opportunity to hear from leaders from Chick-fil-A, NASA, and Chapelwood UMC. It was an excellent learning opportunity and there was much that I found valuable. Here are just a few quotes that were significant for me:

  • “Don’t coast.” – Janice Virtue
  • “Just because you are a good leader doesn’t mean you are good at leading people.” – Kate Potter
  • “No one is smart enough to run everything.” – Wayne Hale
  • “All great projects, halfway through, look like a disaster.” – Wayne Hale
  • “There is no perfect solution” – Wayne Hale
  • “If you want everyone to be on the same page, there has to be a page.” – Bob Johnson

I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and continue to develop my leadership abilities to serve the congregation and community.

Obama’s Oslo Speech and Sermon Writing

I heard In Oslo Speech, Obama Must Sidestep Land Mines on NPR last week. I believe that the method for writing a presidential speech could be applied to writing a sermon. Here is an excerpt from the article:

Those speeches are crafted in a tiny, low-ceilinged room in the basement of the West Wing, directly underneath the Oval Office, by national security aide Ben Rhodes. …┬áRhodes says each big speech begins with the president himself laying out his thoughts in outline form. Then Rhodes starts writing, and the president starts editing.

A back and forth between the pastor who would be preaching the sermon and a sermon writing team with the preaching pastor having the final say could produce a well crafted, theologically sound sermon.

Will you please let me know of any preachers that are using a similar model?

Why take a church benchmarking trip?

During my time at Resurrection, I have taken three trips to benchmark other churches.

Each of these trips have been with several other team members. These trips have each had a full schedule and been intense and tiring. In each of the places you can look to see what the church you are visiting is doing better than your current church. However, it is also important to remind yourself what your church is doing that is better than the one you are visiting. It may be helpful to visit a church that would be considered a peer and another that is bigger than what you are currently. Adam reminded us of these things on our trip to Willow and Granger.

I think that the practice of visiting other congregations to learn is something that would be helpful for church, staff and leaders of any size congregation. Being away together as a team allows you to commit time and brain cycles to a particular project. This often cannot happen in the midst of day to day responsibilities. Perhaps more valuable than the time visiting other churches is the time together as a team to build relationships in ways that are not always possible in other settings.

I hope that other congregations make Leadership Institute one of those events for their leaders. I hope to continue this practice in every church of which I am a part.

Care Team Retreat

Today is another day out of the office. I will be joining the rest of the Congregational Care team on a retreat at the Ursuline Sister’s Convent in Paola, KS. Among other things we will be sharing our goals and projects as individuals over the next year to help guide our visioning as a team. Here are some of the things that I will be sharing:

  • Continuing Education Retreat for Ordination Papers
  • Equip others for blogging
  • Collaboration with small groups and care
  • Feedback on pastoral counseling
  • Clinical Pastoral Education at St. Luke’s Hospital – Plaza
  • Mentor Ministry as a Career students
  • Internet Campus
  • Vibe Worship Service
  • Discerning involvement in the Open Source Liturgy Project with the General Board of Discipleship

I am really look forward to times away with team members. I am particularly looking forward to this time as it will include new team members – Jeff Clinger, Russell Brown, and Laurie Barnes.

What are you looking forward to in the next six months? How do you plan or retreat as a team?

LifeChurch.tv Internet Campus – New Staff (4 of 8)

Tony Steward was recently hired as the Online Community Pastor at LifeChurch.tv. Terry and the team were excited for him to arrive as new staff is a great opportunity to get feedback from a fresh perspective. A new staff member can provide free critical feedback on current processes on the team – free.

I think that it is great that they have hired an online community pastor and commend Tony’s blog to you as well. As to getting feedback from new team members, I think that this is a great practice – both for an internet campus and for any local congregation. It would have to be balanced with getting the new team member on board with standard practices of the team. There is a balance here.

What do you think? Is it more important to gain fresh perspective or to make sure that a team member is on board with standard operating procedures?