Find Out Why Some Leadership Teams Win, and Most Don’t

By Staff

Guest Contributor by Dr. Ryan T. Hartwig and Dr. Warren Bird

It seems like every church has caught onto the idea that church leadership works best through teams rather than solo players.  However, just slapping the “team” term on a group of senior leaders doesn’t make it a true team.  Developing a great senior leadership team requires thought, intentionality, and effort.

So far, we know* that great senior leadership teams tend to:

  1. Pursue a clear, compelling, and consequential purpose distinct from the church’s overall mission.
  2. Identify and focus on the crucial tasks it needs to accomplish and give the rest away to other individuals and groups.
  3. Are comprised of persons who possess needed skills, experience, conviction, and perspective to accomplish the team’s purpose.
  4. Utilize a solid team structure that keeps the team small, gets meaningful tasks on the agenda and trivial matters off the agenda, and establishes and holds members accountable to healthy meeting norms.
  5. Utilize important information, time, education, reward, space, and coaching resources necessary for the team to do its work.

How do you know if your team is winning by working as effectively as it could? How does your church stack up on such issues as having the right people on the team, having the best communication practices, or having a clear, compelling, and consequential purpose? How does your team’s vision align with the overall vision for the church?

Clearly, as you begin asking these tough questions, you discover that not all teams perform as well as others.   Some teams win, but many others don’t.  How about your team?

If you’d like help in evaluating your church’s senior leadership team, Dr. Ryan Hartwig, a collaborative, practical academic and professor at Azusa Pacific University, and Dr. Warren Bird, Leadership Network’s Research Director have a free assessment tool for you. It’s an amazing limited time offer where your senior leadership team gets feedback, first compared to national averages, and then later against a norm of other churches. For more information about the assessment and them, please visit

 *For a great resource on Senior Leadership Teams, check out: Senior Leadership Teams: What It Takes to Make Them Great by Ruth Wageman, Debra Nunes, James Burress and Richard Hackman (2008). Staff

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