I read articles on leadership from time to time. As NCC grows (we will have 12 full-time staff of all levels, including me this year) I like to keep an interest on team management/leading etc. Recently, I took an online test at www.trustedadvisor.com which offers a ‘trust quotient self diagnostic test’. Obviously, these things can be fixed and slanted by a lack of self perception (and lying) but, according to the results, my biggest strength is credibility and my biggest weakness is intimacy. Is this true? Who knows. Maybe. The site then offers articles and tips on how to improve both your strengths and weaknesses as you seek to build a team. The whole this is based on a secular model but I still found it to be an interesting exercise.

Running a Ministry Team does require a certain skill set. There are lots of (sometimes big) personalities, lots of needs, lots of perspectives and different expectations from each individual. People listen differently, process differently, work differently, communicate differently and respond to pressure differently. A good leader must, at the very least, be able to spot problems very early on and seek to head them off at the pass. People get very focused on their particular ‘ministry’ and can miss when another person is struggling. People rub each other up the wrong way and there is either lots of conflict or conflict avoidance. A good leader must be able to spot the danger signals and move in quickly if necessary. Sometimes, however, it’s good to let a thing play out, but that is a judgement call. A good leader must be empathetic to the needs of his team. They must know when to encourage and when to rebuke.

A good leader must be able to communicate vision simply, clearly and believably. They have to be credible. When a person comes to me and says, “I want to do so and so,” my first reaction is, “Can they do what they say they want to do?” People will not follow a person they have little confidence in (not for long anyway). Christian leaders mustn’t fall into the trap of using people just as commodities to fulfill their own vision. We must care for people and their personal, spiritual development. Finally, although not exhaustively, a good leader will always be stretching themselves in terms of reading and learning (agile learners is the term used by Tim Keller). They must seek out a good mentor/coach/friend.

Above all, serve your people. Don’t Lord it over them. Consider Jesus’ words to His disciples.

25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26  It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”(Matthew 20:25-28)

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