A few of the leadership on the ministry team that I’m a part of recently read through the book Sticky Teams by Larry Osborne. This book is pretty specific to the dynamics of a church staff but if that applies to you then Iâ€™d strongly recommend it. He walks through hiring and firing as well as how to have a healthy staff and elder board. Made for some great conversations with our leadership team. There were two areas that stood out to me in the book: unity and philosophy of ministry.
Unity is tough in every church setting I’ve ever seen. That’s why Jesus and the New Testament writers tackled it head on. Here are some of the things from the book where Osborne addressed it.
“In fact, unity that insists on uniformity isnâ€™t unity at all. Itâ€™s a cheap counterfeit. Genuine and biblical unity is found in the midst of real and passionate differences that we set aside in the recognition that the differences we have are nowhere as important as the King we serve.”
“The key is to clearly determine ahead of time the things we wonâ€™t fight about and then make it crystal clear to everyone that these issues are off-limits.”
“NEVER FORGET, GROWTH CHANGES everything. A storefront church, a midsized church, a large church, and a megachurch arenâ€™t simply bigger versions of the same thing. They are completely different animals. They have little in common, especially relationally, organizationally, and structurally.”
He also talked about the importance of determining your philosophy of ministry as a church. In my experience, this is the part that we often overlook and it comes back to bite us later. Often we can find talented people, with great Godly character, but we don’t see till later that they think ministry should be done differently than we are doing it. Aligning your ministry philosophy allows us to focus on who we are as a church and to be what God has called us to be. This also helps to minimize the “competition” feel from church to church.
“For over two thousand years, Jesus has built his church without any universally agreed-upon polity or philosophy of ministry. In fact, the very things that one great spiritual leader swears by, another great ministry leader swears at. This leads me to believe that we have lots of freedom when it comes to the details of how we organize and get the job done.”
“Plumb lines donâ€™t represent the only way to do ministry. They represent your way of doing ministry. So donâ€™t worry if they seem somewhat narrow or controversial or even if they thin the herd.”
He closed the book with a great perspective that we don’t own the Church and that God is going to continue to use it despite our failures and shortcomings. As a person that feels a deep sense of ownership for the success of the Church, this is tremendously encouraging.
“For two thousand years, weâ€™ve suffered more than our share of failed leadership, astounding cultural blind spots, nasty fights, misplaced priorities, millstone traditions, and lots of sin in the camp. But weâ€™ve not been able to kill off the church yet. Sheâ€™s still his bride. Heâ€™s still in love with her, and heâ€™s still coming back to take her home.”