Accountability and counsel are essential to a church planter. In the early days of a new church plant, you’ll likely experience one of two temptations when it comes to leadership. One is to hastily construct a leadership team with a board, positions and policies. The other is to fly solo with no accountability at all. Both are extreme approaches and dangerous for a church planter. Here are a few things I learned the hard way that may help you in developing your leadership structure.
Move slowly when choosing the leadership structure for a new church. Do not feel like you have to have the entire structure in place in the beginning. As a matter of fact, you’ll find it best if you don’t hastily build a leadership structure and assign roles. If you choose the structure or the leaders too quickly, you may have a mess to unravel.
Resist the urge to move quickly, and methodically set a structure. If you are in a denomination that has already chosen your structure, then move slowly in choosing the leaders within the structure. The challenge in a new church is that you really don’t know the people. I chose our first team much too quickly. If I could do it all over again, I would wait nine months to a year before I gave anyone a leadership position. Enlist people in ministry, but do not give them leadership authority in the church too quickly.
Choose Church Leaders
Beware of asking community leaders to be leaders in the church. Obviously, being a leader in the church is totally different than being a leader in the community. I have seen churches place some of the most worldly bank presidents on the finance team. They certainly had financial knowledge, but not spiritual maturity. Some community leaders may be ego-driven and spiritually bankrupt as well. Church starters fall into the trap of thinking a community leader in church leadership will be great for the church. But it could be disastrous. Select them first for the spiritual maturity you have seen in them and second for their expertise, not the other way around. The leadership of a church sets the tone for the spiritual maturity of a church. As John Maxwell says, everything rises and falls on leadership.