- The leader thermometer.
John Maxwell says, “If you want to know the temperature of an organization, put a thermometer in the leader’s mouth!”
In other words, the organization will not grow BEYOND the mindset, thinking, paradigms, culture and spirit of the leader. For the church to grow, the leader must also grow.
I found this to be both sobering and humbling at the same time. I realized that if I want to GROW a healthy, thriving church, I needed to BECOME a healthy, thriving leader!
Jesus said, “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher and the servant like his master…” Matthew 10:24-25.
In other words, the leader sets the pace, culture, potential and ceiling in an organization. If you WANT generosity in your church you have to BECOME generous. If you want HONOR in your church, you must BECOME honorable. If you want great marriages in your church, you have to build a great marriage.
Every seed can ONLY reproduce after its own kind. A seed of mediocrity CANNOT produce a harvest of excellence. A seed of small mindedness CANNOT produce a harvest of big thinking. If you want a different harvest, you must first change the seed.
The most beautiful thing about the kingdom of God is that God is ALWAYS at work and the HELPER is ALWAYS willing to bring you into greater dimensions of leadership, capacity and understanding. If you and I are willing to absorb the pain, He will lead us beyond where we can go by ourselves!
- Thermostat setting – a healthy core.
As it goes with the core so sets the culture. The hub of the wheel determines the rotation of the wheel. Centrifugal forces flow from the core outwards. To build a HEALTHY growing church, the leader/pastor MUST give himself to developing a healthy, growing core.
What does your core team look like? Do they carry your culture or a different culture? Do they have your spirit or a different spirit?
When Moses was told to appoint the 70 elders, God took the spirit that was UPON Moses and put THAT SAME SPIRIT upon the elders. He did NOT give them a different spirit!
It has taken us the better part of a decade to build a culture where we see and hear the echo of ourselves in our leaders while NOT transgressing their personality and individuality. Most people attempt to clone or duplicate ‘bricks’ (like the Tower of Babel) as opposed to shaping ‘stones’ in the construction of their key and core teams.
A leader sets the vision, but the core team determines the pace.
Embracing the gifting and strengths within each individual on your team is not a threat to you but an advantage. The raising and releasing of leaders and ministers is perhaps my primary role as the apostolic oversight of C3 San Diego. The fruit of my life are the leaders and ministers I reproduce. The shaping of their heart, soul and paradigms are my chief responsibility while developing and deploying their gifting and anointing.
Remember, one of the chief symbols of the Holy Spirit is the dove, which has nine pin feathers in each wing. It is no surprise that there are nine gifts of the Holy Spirit as well as nine fruits. Both must be developed in a healthy leader, and core team!
The goal is ‘diversity of gifting, anointing, and ministries’ while the vision, values and culture are homogenous within each team member!
Jesus spent all night in prayer before choosing the twelve and he spent the next three years developing them. Therefore, selection and development are essential in setting the thermostat of a healthy growing church!
- Use the keys! Whatever you bind on earth…
You are creating culture either by design or by default. If your church is toxic for raising and releasing leaders, or terrific, guess what – it’s your leadership or lack thereof that has created that.
Jesus said; “Behold I give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven, whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth is loosed in heaven!” Matthew 16:18. In other words, you have been given the keys to create a reality on earth that reflects heaven.
Many years ago, I was struggling as a youth pastor in New Zealand. Continual issues with leaders, morale, volunteers and infighting. Exasperated I went for a drive into the country side to try and pray and hear from God. Sadly, my cassette player (shows my age) had just chewed up the one worship tape I had playing in the car. I tried to tune in to the Christian radio station but couldn’t pick that up either due to my antenna being ‘removed’ as a practical joke by some over enthusiastic youth. The only station was a local talk radio program where they were discussing the wearing of bicycle helmets. I was done! “How can God speak to me through this garbage?” I gasped. Then all of a sudden, I heard these words jump from my radio…
“Whatever you tolerate you teach.”
It pierced me. It was EXACTLY what I needed to hear. Sure, the context was about the ‘enforcing’ of kids wearing bike helmets to prevent head injuries should they fall. But for me, it was an epiphany. A game-changer! It literally opened my eyes and I began to see that the attitudes, mindsets, squabbles, bickering and lack of morale were the direct result of what I was tolerating.
The first Adam was a gardener, authorized by God to ‘tend and keep’ the garden. The word ‘ground’ or ‘earth’ in the Hebrew is Adamah and it is female in gender because God designed the earth to receive seed and then produce fruit/life. God calls us to sow and plant seeds that produce the fruit of the kingdom and the life of the kingdom. What are you sowing? What are you preaching, teaching, modelling, instilling into your church, team, people and yourself?
It’s been a delight for us to build a culture that produces and develops powerhouse leaders. As we expand into sixteen campuses, we DO NOT have to compromise quality or strength because we have a fountain overflowing with powerful ministers and leaders.
- Regular check-ups and examinations.
Because I love surfing, every year I have a scheduled appointment with my dermatologist. He will check me for any potential skin cancers and melanomas. He tells me his job is to keep me ‘cancer free’ and enjoying my active surfing life.
When we built a new house, the city sent an inspector to make assessments at each juncture to make sure the foundation, structure, and electrical systems were all up to safety code. Sadly, most pastors and leaders that I know never do a basic exam, or carry out basic assessments, to check the health of their church, systems, fruitfulness and structures.
There’s a saying: “We are foolish to expect from what we fail to inspect!”
Here are 7 inspections that I constantly assess in our church to determine its health and viability:
- Visitors – Influence in the community. Effectiveness of people in the church feeling confident to invite and bring their neighbors, relatives, friends, co-workers etc.
- Salvations – Is the gospel reaching the unchurched or have we become a ‘holy club with a monastery mentality?’ (Our main goal being to NOT be affected by the sinful world around us).
- Attendance – Where excitement meets commitment.
- Assimilation – Stewardship and discipleship happens AFTER salvation and are NOT necessarily reflected in the weekly attendance. (You can gather a crowd, but be failing to make disciples!).
- Volunteers – This shows me the ‘BUY-IN’ to the vision and mission of the church.
- Money – “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also!” Matthew 6:21.
- Leaders – Fruitfulness in our development of leaders and our discipleship mandate. In fact, the single most determining factor over the strength of our future is the leaders we are producing, or failing to produce, today!
If you give yourself to these four areas, then you will begin to see great health and growth take place both in your personal world as well as in your church. (For other resources on this see my book Leadersight).