When establishing a core team…don’t yield to assumptions but trust God’s choice
As our search to invite others to join our emerging core team continued, we had one experience in which a person was recommended to us. This person had been on the original strategy team back when we were one congregation, before we occupied our new building, the Granary, and restructured the body of the church. He is a very practical person with an administrative gifting. In addition, he tends to the finances of the church and is part of the building management team for the Granary. So a very able and competent person who was a great benefit on the previous team.
We were encouraged to consider him; perhaps others even assumed we would. However, I felt it wasn’t right to invite him onto our new team. Don’t get me wrong, it was very tempting to. He seemed a good and natural fit. Yet, something in me urged me to not extend that invite.
As we were establishing a new core team it was virgin territory. A chance to newly express our church’s foundations for our specific congregation and its team. It was an opportunity to do things differently. Not for the sake of being different, but for the chance to follow the fresh leading of our father in Heaven. An opportunity to recognise, raise up and release new people among us. Not to yield to assumptions or revert back to old expectations.
My encouragement here really is to not go for those people who on paper will do a “good job”, or who others have suggested will fit the bill. Obviously, there’s a sensible place for suggestions and recommendations. We need that from others. However, the choice must be the Lords. Without blowing this out of proportion (we’re not exactly selecting the 12 Apostles like Christ did!), choosing those who will see, own and carry the vision you have for the congregation is healthy. People wanting to bear the burden with you, and take on the responsibility to lead your congregation will always trump anyone who will just be a “practical help”.
Now as it just so happens, we did end up inviting that guy to join us. He’s been a real blessing to have too. He’s an enthusiastic prayer and encourager, and someone who definitely takes responsibility and ownership.
Don’t just take anyone, no matter how good they appear on paper. Trust God’s choice and build your team accordingly.
When establishing a core team…consider your influencers
In this final key lesson I learned when establishing a core team, I’ve saved what I think has been the most fruitful for last. After our new congregation was birthed and we had formed our original core team, you might remember me mentioning in a previous post that one of those couples left. We had no other appropriate persons to invite on and so entered a season with no team. I decided that to protect me from turning into, or being seen to turn into, a one-man band, I would indeed lead the congregation while I searched for the right people to reestablish a core team. However, during that season we created a new unofficial group called Influencers.
Whereas for us the core team is defined as those specifically invited onto the team and recognised as having delegated responsibility to carry the congregation together and entrusted with the practicalities and pastoring of the gathering. The influencers are those whose voices we also value among the congregation and are growing in influence by their presence and participation. It’s people we see as already being pillars in the congregation or we sense have a growing grace about them as they develop and mature, but aren’t quite core team material, yet.
What this looks like in practice is that they’re invited to meet up on an ad-hoc basis every so often with the core team. At this get together I’ll throw out a few questions about the gathering that helps me gauge how invested they are and willing to contribute. It also genuinely helps to hear a wider variety of input too. As people offer ideas, thoughts, challenges, and encouragements, I can see how they might possibly fit into the core team in the future. Either way, if it never quite works to bring them on board the team, having their voice spoken among us blesses us and keeps them within our orbit of investment. The bulk of our time is given over to prayer and prophesying. I’ll have thought through some very specific and practical points to pray into and we just go through them one by one. We’re very free in these moments and they have turned into inspiring times of passionate praying and strengthening prophecies. It’s also in these moments when we can discern who might be catching the fire of our gathering and connecting with us more. You can learn a lot about someone by how they pray I think.
In addition, to help prevent any sense of commitment or labels being used, we’ve intentionally kept it very fluid and relational. The core team know who they are, what they do, and the team they are part of. The influencers are different in that although I’ll express how we see them as influential and a valued voice, we simply want to periodically get a loose bunch together to chat, pray and prophesy. To strings attached. No titles. Not an official group. Just an opportunity to hear from members of the congregation who are making a bit of an impact, or on a trajectory to be.
To date as a result of this model of leadership development we’ve recognised three people and successfully invited them onto the team. Now we currently have five influencers we get together with as a group. This process has also lent itself to helping us diversify our level of input, with the voice of men and women, different cultures, and various ages being listened to. Giving us that broader understanding has helped filter that inclusion into our congregation.