[Column] Team Leadership and Church Growth

Team Leadership and Church Growth

Written By Rev.Dr. Joshua Hong

Senior Pastor of Full Gospel Church of Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.


A few years ago George Barna, the founder of a market research firm that studies church growth, wrote a book entitled Power of Team Leadership. In the book he concludes based on his observation and research of numerous churches in America that team leadership is the most effective leadership model in the future. In recent years there has been an increasing interest in team leadership because of its proven effect in vitalizing a team according to its various functions. Even competitive enterprises are making the transition from a “vertical” structure with a mere compliance of orders from the top to a “team” structure with an emphasis on functions. A growing church is where not only pastors minister but also laity collaborate in a team effort.

The Bible speaks of the greatness of a team. “Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:11-12). Here “two” and “a threefold cord” denote a united team. Team leadership may be viewed with unease in a church culture because church tends to be dependent mostly on a small body of excellent leaders. We are not to disregard the excellent leadership of individuals but to internalize the values and culture of team leadership. It must be acknowledged that excellent leadership of individuals and team leadership are not at odds with each other.

The word team can be an acronym of “Together Everyone Achieve More.” It means when everyone is united, more can be achieved. Researchers on leadership unanimously agree that the IQ of a team is always higher than the sum of its members’ IQs. The power of a team is that it exceeds the abilities of individuals.

For church to powerfully grow, the laity must be trained to collaborate as a team according to each individual’s interest and calling. Church can undertake greater ministries when its members as a team actively participate in prayer, service, evangelization, and missions. The growing churches in the future will be those with active lay ministry. If a church introduces team leadership while maintaining the Biblical order of spiritual authority, it can be an active and healthy institution. The visions of and collaboration in team leadership will reveal the excellence of community rather than that of individuals. Are you willing to cooperate and minister as a team?

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