When establishing a core team…don’t take things personally but be releasing
In my previous post I mentioned how there was a bit of a slow start in recruiting people to join our core team. Eventually we did manage to form a small one as another couple we loved accepted our offer. We were off! Unfortunately, after a while so were they…
Thankfully we were able to enjoy them being with us in the early days and we met together as a team for about a year. Then they decided to step away and disconnect from our congregation, moving to another one (we have 3). Their reasons were good and related to their calling and gifting, which weren’t being fully utilised in our setting at that time. They also had a desire to be around people in a similar life stage. Our congregation was developing, under God’s providence, into a gathering attracting young adults and students, internationals, as well as visitors. Not so much young families and kids, which was hard for them.
In contrast to the first people we invited to join us, this one stung a bit more. I think the reason was that it felt the closest to being abandoned. We felt we had been ditched. Neither of these were true. With our previous friends they never started running with us, so nothing was lost. With this couple, they had started running with us. So when they veered off on a different path it was hard not to take it personally.
We are a relational church at Hope. We are big on being a family and relating as such. So in one sense everything is personal. Yet, it’s wise to remember that decisions made or actions taken are usually not a subtle personal slight on your ability, character, or personality. If folk move on for good reasons and it hurts a bit, then we must reaffirm our security as anointed leaders, our identity as beloved sons and daughters of our heavenly Father, and our God-given commission as ones called to a specific task. It will prove harder and harder to be bitter and resentful when friends go elsewhere as we become firmer in these realities.
As I took back control from my misplaced perception when those friends departed and my being overly sensitive, I found it important to not be controlling. Instead I wanted to cultivate a releasing attitude. We own no one. Loyalty is desirable, but control is destructive. I had to learn that the Lord’s call on people’s lives is not at my mercy. I don’t decide who stays or goes. Rather, I want to be a facilitator of God’s leading in people, and support them as they pursue that. Even if it’s not in our sphere of activity. It was right for these friends of ours to be released into an area they felt they could be fruitful in, and not feel manipulated or dictated to by us. We trust one another and entrust each other into the Spirit’s guidance.
When establishing a core team…take risks with the unexpected and unseen
Our team did eventually form with a strong core. It turns out that the strength of that core was found in an unexpected person and an unseen person. One lady had started connecting with us more or less as soon as we transitioned to our new building. She plugged in and began serving. She was regularly present at our gatherings, but also at other events. She was getting to know others and becoming known herself. Initially my thoughts about her compatibility with our core team leaned towards thinking of her as too new. She wasn’t known well enough. She hadn’t established herself in the body. We’re only just starting to see her gifts. Upon reflection, hanging on to thoughts like that may cause us to miss out on people. It may also cause people to miss out on opportunities. Thankfully, I changed my mindset and we invited her on board. This isn’t to say we should hastily bring people on board without prayerfully considering their gifts, their connection with us, or where they’re at. We need to be wise.
She was a bit hesitant. She wasn’t quite sure what she would contribute. However, we felt her voice would be influential. We already valued what she thought when we chatted. So with our encouragement she accept! She has since run well with us. She demonstrates passion for our congregation. She prays zealously with us. She serves diligently. She’s brings appreciated input into our meetings and team.
To think, she may have been missed if we weren’t open to the unexpected. Be open to the unlikely, unanticipated, and unexpected among you.
In terms of the unseen. Another guy we brought onto team was someone who would have easily kept himself under the radar. He’s naturally quiet. He’s unassuming. And he comes from a permission-based culture in Nigeria. Unbeknownst to me, any opportunity to have him come forward had to come with a season of regular “authorisation” and invitation. As I learnt, his social context demanded that he didn’t put himself forward or take initiative, but rather wait to be recognised and released. So we went through a season of making him seen and seeing himself.
Others in our team have invested time and effort to help him see the leadership anointing we believe he has over him. We’ve seen him step up and step out more and more as a result. He now also hosts our gatherings with a growing spiritual authority. In addition, he’s become part of a prophetic school we run and is bringing that gifting to our corporate setting in increasing measure.
To think, he may have gone on being missed if we hadn’t intentionally decided to see the unseen. A core team usually won’t be made up of people already at the place you’d like them to be. Where’s the fun in that anyway!? A team made up of fellow disciples growing into their gifting, developing their leadership, and making mistakes, is a strong and healthy team in the making I think.