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7 Critical Hard-Knock Leadership Lessons

5. Form a Leadership Team

Let me stop and point out that that idea would not have been heard if I hadn’t formed a Leadership Team at my campus. I meet with my staff weekly, but I invite some key lay leaders to join us monthly. The lay leaders mixed with my paid staff make up my Leadership Team.

In every church I’ve served, I’ve formed a Leadership Team. It is invaluable to your leadership and is key to working yourself out of a job or at the very least, duplicating yourself. It takes selfless leadership, but is something that all of you can do in your situation.

Children’s Pastors should have their own Leadership Team. Student Pastors should have a Student Leadership Team (we recently formed this at my campus). Even Worship Pastors can have their own Leadership Team. When I was a Tech Pastor, I formed a Leadership Team and literally worked myself out of a job. That Leadership Team at that mega-church still leads the tech ministry to this day.

6. Don’t Hit Send

The last two lessons I’ve learned come from my former boss and friend. He had much grace and patience with me and coached me on how to best respond to angry e-mails, comments, and complaints. Sooner or later, someone is going to send you a mean or harsh e-mail. Your (and my) first reaction might be to immediately respond and fire off a passionate e-mail.

I did that once at another church and got in trouble because my tone was seen as too harsh and argumentative. I had to apologize to the person and ask their forgiveness. My boss, as I said, was full of grace, but he made me do something for the next few months. If I wanted to respond to a tough e-mail, he had me write up my response in a draft e-mail but then not hit send. He would ask me to read it to him or some of my peers and get feedback. Was it too blunt? Could what I said be seen as mean, arrogant, or rude? Do I come across as argumentative or prideful? Is there a better way that I can ask a question or make a point?

After discussing this with my boss and/or peers, we would decide if it was okay to send as is, needed to be edited, or even if I should respond at all. And not to get all old school on you, but sometimes, the best way to respond to an angry e-mail is to pick up the phone and call someone so you can hear their voice, and they can hear your tone. I’ve also found that a face-to-face meeting can work wonders. People are hardly ever as mean or bold to me in person as they can be behind their computers. Maybe it’s because I’m 6’5”. Just kidding! Seriously, in person they can hear my heart and begin to understand why I made the decision I did or why I’m leading in a certain direction.