October 25, 2023

Navigating Changes on Your Senior Leadership Team – Episode 319 | The Unstuck Church Podcast

navigating changes on your senior leadership team

Fresh Content Each Week

New content to help you lead an unstuck church delivered to your inbox on Wednesday mornings.

We know your inbox is probably full.

We want to make it easier for you to find the right content-the articles, podcast episodes and resources most relevant to where you are in your leadership.

  • Protected: Order – August 7, 2021 @ 01:25 AM

    Podcast Episodes

  • Articles & Blog Posts

  • Protected: Order – August 7, 2021 @ 09:59 AM

    Quarterly Unstuck Church Report

Developing an Effective Senior Leadership Team (Part 4)

If you enjoy this episode, subscribe on your device for more:
iTunes   RSS  Stitcher   Spotify

Even after a senior leadership team has been established, it’s expected that this team will shift and change as the church grows.

And as the world around it changes, the team will need to change and adapt the needs of the ministry.


In the final episode of our series, we want to answer two outstanding questions related to your senior leadership team. These questions didn’t fit into one tidy category, but we felt like they were really important practical questions to address as our listeners wrestle through this topic.

The first is in regards to how this team will change and grow as your church grows, and the second is about how to address having the wrong people on your team. Listen in as we cover:

  • The three phases of your SLT meetings
  • Tips for improving staff communications
  • 3 steps for addressing the wrong person on your team
  • Reflection questions & encouragement for the future
Even after a senior leadership team has been established, it's expected that this team will shift and change as the church grows. [episode 319] #unstuckchurch Click To Tweet Don’t miss the opportunity to propel your ministry to new levels of kingdom work by creating a healthy senior leadership team that—in turn—is creating a healthy church culture. [episode 319] #unstuckchurch Click To Tweet The keys to overcoming what’s holding your church back are not “out there” but “in here”—within your senior leadership team. [episode 319] #unstuckchurch Click To Tweet

This Episode Is Sponsored by Ministry Brands:

ministry brands logo

You may think you know Ministry Brands, the parent company of industry-leading brands such as ShelbyNext, FellowshipOne, and easyTithe. But wait until you hear about their brand new flagship solution, Ministry Brands Amplify: a cutting-edge all-in-one Church Ops solution helping empower healthy churches, connect, engage, and grow their Ministry while boosting member engagement, allowing church staff and volunteers to focus on their calling.

Empower your Ministry today with this all-in-one Giving, People, Streaming, App Builder, and Website solution.  Learn more at ministrybrands.com/unstuckgroup.

Other Episodes in This Series:

Leader Conversation Guide

Want to take this conversation back to a staff or senior leadership team meeting? 

Our Show Notes subscribers get a PDF download that recaps the episode content and includes a discussion guide you can print out and use at an upcoming meeting.

Opt-in here and get access to the full Leader Conversation Guide archive.

Share Your Thoughts and Questions on Social Media

We use #unstuckchurch on Twitter, and we start a real-time conversation each Wednesday morning when the episode drops. You can follow me @tonymorganlive and The Unstuck Group @unstuckgroup. If Facebook is where you spend your time, I’m there, too.

Write a Review—It Helps!

Your ratings and reviews really do help more pastors discover the podcast content I’m creating here. Would you take a minute to share your thoughts? Just open the the podcast on iTunes on your phone or computer, click Ratings & Reviews, and leave your opinion. Or leave us 5 stars on Spotify.


Sean (00:02):

Welcome to The Unstuck Church Podcast, where each week we are exploring what it means to be an unstuck church. Once a church establishes a senior leadership team, the personnel won’t always stay the same. As the church grows, the team will need to change and adapt the needs of the ministry, and sometimes that means making adjustments to ensure you have the right people on the team. On this week’s podcast, Tony and Amy finish up our series on church senior leadership teams and how you, too, can take the lid off of your church. If you’re new to The Unstuck Church podcast, before you listen, stop and go to theunstuckgroup.com/podcast and subscribe to get the episode show notes. When you do, each week you’ll get an email with our Leader Conversation Guide, some bonus resources and access to our podcast resource archive. Again, that’s theunstuckgroup.com/podcast to subscribe. Now, before this week’s conversation, here’s Tony.

Tony (00:56):

You may think you know Ministry Brands, the parent company of industry-leading brands, such as Shelby Next, Fellowship One and easyTithe but wait until you hear about their brand new flagship solution. It’s called Ministry Brands Amplify, and it’s a cutting-edge, all-in-one church ops solution, which is helping empower healthy churches to connect, engage and grow their ministry while boosting member engagement. And that’s allowing church staff and volunteers to really focus on their calling. Empower your ministry today with this all-in-one giving, people, streaming, app builder and website solution. Learn more at ministrybrands.com/unstuckgroup.

Amy (01:45):

Well, welcome back to our listeners for our final episode in our series on developing an effective senior leadership team. Tony and I have really enjoyed this topic, and in a sense, Tony, it gets us ready for next week where we actually get to be together in Atlanta. We have a group of, I don’t know, 15 to 17 executive pastors coming to Atlanta to talk through the role of the Executive Pastor. And, of course, the executive pastor is often kind of the, the conductor of the senior leadership team.

Tony (02:15):

That’s right. Yeah.

Amy (02:15):

Looking forward to it. By the way, Tony, I don’t know if you saw the notes, but there was so much demand for that we’re actually opening up another Executive Pastor cohort this summer.

Tony (02:25):


Amy (02:25):

So if any of you listeners are interested in that, we’ll be sharing that information as it gets closer.

Tony (02:30):

Yeah, we had a similar experience. We launched a multisite cohort a couple months ago and filled it up. And so I think, again sometime the beginning of the year, I think, Amy, we’re gonna launch a second cohort specifically for multisite leaders, as well. So, either way, I love those experiences of getting church leaders and pastors together from different parts of the country. And it’s, you know, hopefully, they’re coming to learn from us. I think they’re learning, learning from us, but it’s just fun to be in the same room with these leaders and hearing firsthand what God’s doing in their ministries, as well. And I think they actually learn quite a bit, if not more, from each other than they do for, from you or me.

Amy (03:13):

I agree.

Tony (03:13):

Yeah. So fun experiences. I am looking forward to next week.

Amy (03:17):

Yeah, it’ll be great. Alright, well, so far in this series we’ve talked about why churches need a senior leadership team and the importance of getting that team right. We covered seven questions to identify who should be on that team, and then we discussed in depth, the in depth role of the team and how senior pastors can empower those leaders. But where are we going today as we wrap up this series, Tony?

Tony (03:40):

Well, Amy, as you mentioned, we’ve covered a lot of topics related to the ins and outs of the senior leadership team. And if I’m being honest, this is one of those topics that I could probably talk about forever. It might get a little bit repetitive. I, I guess. But I, I understand not everyone is passionate about this topic as I am, so I’ll spare listeners because of that. But, today, we want to answer two outstanding questions related to your senior leadership teams. And these questions didn’t fit into one tidy category, but we felt like these were really important practical questions to address as our listeners wrestle with this topic. The first is in regards to how this senior leadership team will change as your church grows. And then the second question we want to address is about how to, how to maybe process when we sense we have the wrong people on this team. And, Amy, you’re the staffing guru, so I think I’m gonna pass that second one to you. And because I think it’s the harder question to answer, I’m going to pass that question to you, as well.

Amy (04:48):

I should have taken the setup for this podcast today. No, that’s good, Tony. And well, let’s start actually with our first question then, and this one’s for you. How should the makeup and the role of the senior leadership team shift as the church grows and the number of staff increases?

Tony (05:05):

Yeah, Amy, and as I’m going through this, I, I want you to feel free to interrupt because as I’m talking through this, in my mind, this seems really clear. But if you think you need more insights or an example to kind of make it even more clear, I want that; I want that interruption. But here’s the key thought when it comes to how this team begins to shift as the church grows, is this: we have to be intentional about our time with other leaders. And this is what’s challenging, I think, for a lot of pastors and a lot of leaders in the context of church, is when the church grows, the number of leaders in your church also grow. And because of that, we really have to be intentional about our time—not with all the leaders, but with the right leaders. And that includes who we meet with on a regular basis. And so, over these last several weeks, we’ve talked about who should be on the team, how, how to develop that team, what this team should be responsible for. I wanna get really practical here, though, and it really does come down to healthy meeting dynamics. Because if we don’t pay attention to this principle, we are gonna end up with too many people in our senior leadership team. I did air quotes, as if people could see that, Amy.

Amy (06:28):

I see that.

Tony (06:29):

If you don’t, if you get too many people, though, on this team, it really challenges our ability to move the mission of the church forward. And so, here’s what I’ve experienced in the past when it comes to meeting dynamics. If, if the meeting is intended to, to have good, healthy conversation, good, healthy conflict to make decisions, to clarify action steps and actually move the mission forward, you can only have maybe three to eight people in those types of meetings.

Amy (07:04):


Tony (07:05):

You can have meetings with more people, but, and, and as, as, as the meeting size grows, it makes communications more difficult. It makes decision-making more difficult. It tends to make conversations more one-sided. Everyone can’t fully engage in the discussion. And the biggest thing is it makes initiating any kind of change almost impossible. Because if you’re trying to find the middle ground with 10, 12 or more people, it’s whatever agreement you come to is probably not the most effective decision because what you’re, what you end up doing is trying to get consensus with all those people rather than finding the right decision to move the mission forward. So with that, if, if, if meeting dynamics are helping us shape the size of the senior leadership team, again, three to eight people is what we would recommend. There are these common kind of phases of development of this team that I’ve seen play out in churches through the years. And I almost hesitate to put sizes on this, but because I think that will make it a little bit clearer for you, I’m, I’m going to put kind of a size of church around each of these phases. But let me just say this: it really has more to do with the number of people on the team rather than the size of the church itself. And so with that, though, I would say the first phase of development this, of this, of this team is usually smaller churches or mid-size churches, churches under 500 people in attendance. And it’s not unusual for churches that size to have every ministry staff person invited to the weekly kind of senior team meeting. Because of that, everybody who’s on ministry staff participates in every ministry conversation.

Tony (09:07):

Everyone helps make just about every ministry decision. And for small churches, that’s not unusual to have all the ministry staff together for that team. In fact, it may even be complemented with some key volunteer lay leaders, as well. So that’s kind of the first phase. But what I’ve seen is once a church does bump up against, and it, it varies for different churches, maybe it’s 300 for your church, 400, 500 people. And you’re continuing to invite all of the ministry staff to be a part of that weekly meeting, by that point, many times there are more than eight people in the room. And you run into those problems that I mentioned. Communications bogged down. Decision-making takes a lot more time. It gets difficult for everybody to participate in the conversation. And so because of that, the next key kind of phase or transition that we see the senior leadership teams going through is that rather than inviting all the ministry staff, they have to transition to only inviting the ministry leaders.

Tony (10:18):

So these are people leading other people. Those are the only folks that can come to this weekly meeting to get, again, the size of the meeting down so that the dynamics are working and actually helping us with our conversations and our decision-making. And again, I hesitate to put a size on this, but I think frequently, for me, Amy, I’ve seen this happening when a church gets to maybe between 500 and a thousand people, somewhere in there in there in attendance. And this is a hard. This is a hard transition because there have been ministry staff that have been part of these conversations maybe for months or years. And in order to get the, the team right-sized, again, we have to kind of help them move off the team so that we can get the right leaders in the room to make the right decisions for the ministry to go forward. So, before I kind of move, move on to this last phase, have, I mean, have you experienced kind of the angst around this type of transition with some of the teams that you’ve worked with, Amy?

Amy (11:27):

Yeah. Actually, two of the last four churches I worked with were both in this size of that climb to a thousand. They’re growing churches. It’s, you know, they’ve hit the 500 mark, but now they’re making that next run. And that’s exactly it—they still had everybody on staff in the weekly meeting. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t have an all-staff meeting.

Tony (11:45):


Amy (11:46):

When we’re actually making decisions and having to critically think through things, that’s where they needed to go. And it’s hard, Tony. Because when you’re under 500, you’ll, I hear this all the time, “We’re like a family.” And so it feels like a loss when you are removed from that meeting because it’s just part of your family. I mean, that’s what we’ve been doing. You know, I was here when the church started, but like you said, the cost is: we’re not making good decisions, or we’re not making decisions. And by the way, I mean, senior pastors love their team, but that can become now one of the meetings they don’t wanna be a part of because we slog through details. What’s coming up this weekend? How did this go? And they just, they’ll either pull out of it or they’ll zone out during the meeting.

Tony (12:34):

That’s right.

Amy (12:35):

‘Cause they wanna get to the important conversation. So, all that to say, pastors, if you’re in that phase, what Tony’s talking about, you need to reduce that team. And it’s hard, but it will be the lid if you don’t switch to a smaller, you know, kind of recoup and get to a smaller leadership team.

Tony (12:51):

That’s right.

Amy (12:51):

So what’s the next transition, Tony?

Tony (12:53):

So, the next, we’ll call this phase three, but this next transition again is, it’s a challenging. It’s a challenging transition for leaders, for pastors, but it’s necessary. And I’m gonna talk more about that in a second. But here’s what happens. As the church continues to grow, and again, the size of the church differs; it’s really about the number of people in the room. But commonly somewhere between a thousand and 2,000 people, again, if you’re inviting all the ministry leaders to this weekly senior leadership team meeting you, you get beyond eight people in the room then. And, so until this point, it would not be unusual for every pastor and every ministry director to be invited to the senior leadership team meeting. But, again, when churches grow a thousand to 2,000 probably, but somewhere in that time frame, you’re gonna end up with 10, 12, 14. I’ve seen some very large senior leadership team meetings.

Amy (13:51):

Yes, yes.

Tony (13:52):

Because they’re still including all the pastors and all the directors. And so this is the next key transition that you have to make to right-size the senior leadership team. Rather than inviting all the pastors and all the directors, you need to really narrow that down to only truly leaders of leaders. And you need to go back a couple episodes ago, we talked about some of the attributes of these high-capacity leaders that need to be on your senior leadership team. It’s a, it’s a tough transition because some of these pastors and some of these directors who will not be in your senior leadership team going forward are still leaders. They’re still gifted leaders.

Amy (14:36):


Tony (14:36):

They’re still leading in the ministry. But, we need to narrow down the senior leadership team to get it back to the place where we can have healthy conversations, healthy conflict, have everybody engaged and make better decisions as a team. And so, this is what’s so challenging, though, Amy, is it feels for pastors, like, I mean, especially the pastors that, like a lot of them that we work with, it’s not, it’s not, we’re just not accomplishing a ministry. We’re developing relationships together.

Amy (15:09):

That’s right.

Tony (15:09):

We’re developing deep friendships together. And I know this is, this is a tough transition for a lot of pastors to go through, but here’s, maybe this will help you. Just know this: that every growing large church goes through this, this transition with their senior leadership team.

Amy (15:29):

Yeah. Reflecting on my own journey, Tony, when I started at Eaglebrook Church here in Minnesota back in 2002, I think the senior leadership team was up around 7, 8, 9 people. And we were growing 20% year-over-year. And our first redo brought it down to four of us, and we rode that I think up until about 10,000 people, which was maybe two or three campuses for us. So we pruned way back. But, eventually, that grew again because campus pastors were coming into view, and those are big leaders in our church. But, again, probably, you know, into the fifth campus, we had to make some decisions to scale back again. And it is. It’s a loss of kind of that scheduled intersection with friends, but everyone does adapt. And they just have to have the vision as to why we need to do that. I’m curious, Tony. You know, outside of that senior leadership team, can you talk about some of the other meetings we have: ministry team meetings, all-staff meetings?

Tony (16:27):

Yeah. So, we’re talking about one team, the senior leadership team. But just because that team’s meeting doesn’t mean there aren’t other teams that are also meeting. In fact, you need to encourage these meetings if they aren’t happening and specifically a couple come to mind. One, your ministry teams. So think about teams around your weekend services, teams around your spiritual formation strategy, teams around your next-gen strategy. Those teams need to be meeting on a regular basis, as well. However, there’s a difference between a senior leadership team meeting and a ministry team meeting. The senior leadership team is focused on things like vision, values, strategy. Ministry team meetings are more tactical. They’re talking about how do we execute on the strategy? How do we execute on the mission goals that we have? And because of that, you do want to have all of the key people on those ministry teams involved to help you make those types of decisions. That’s how we help people actually complete their tasks and get stuff done. So, we want people in ministry team meetings. So, in other words, it’s not sufficient just to have some people in a senior leadership team meeting and not have any ministry team meetings, that, that is a gap that needs to be addressed. The second type of meeting that you need to continue to have, and you, you referenced it a moment ago, you need to continue to have periodic all-staff meetings. We recommend once a month for those meetings. And those meetings are not decision-making meetings because we make decisions around strategy at the senior leadership team level, and we make decisions about execution in our ministry team meetings. Rather, all-staff meetings are for sharing vision, for, for, sharing key information that you want your staff team to hear before the rest of the church, for sharing stories and just celebrating what’s happening in the life of the church.

Amy (18:31):

That’s right.

Tony (18:31):

But they’re not decision-making meetings. In other words, once you get to a certain size, you can’t bring the whole staff together to make decisions, frankly, about anything. But here’s the myth that I think exists. And this is not just for churches. I think this is in any organization. The myth is that by getting more people in more meetings, it helps us improve communications. And that honestly is the furthest thing from the truth.

Amy (18:58):


Tony (18:58):

Just as an example, I remember in an attempt to make sure everybody was on the same page, this is years ago, I was involved in helping to plan Christmas Eve, the whole service experience for Christmas Eve at one of the churches I was at. We were all in a room. There were about 20 of us that, that were responsible for different aspects of the experience. And the whole purpose of the meeting was for all 20 of us to go around the circle and explain what we were working on and what our priorities were and all of that with the assumption that that would help us improve communications and interaction across the team for what was gonna be a significant event. Amy, I just, I mean, at one moment I just, number one, you know me, that is. I dunno how my, my brain just. I, I just, I was so fried. I just like, why am I here? But then I looked around the room, and, you know, people are on their phones. People are working email. No one’s paying attention to what the other 20 people in the room are saying. And it’s just an example of in an attempt to improve communications and alignment, we thought the best answer was bringing everybody together for a meeting. And that just, it does not improve communication. So, if you wanna improve communications, let me offer this advice first: Get the right people in the right meetings. So, get the right people in the right meetings. So, again, for your church, that might mean getting the right people in your senior leadership team meetings, getting the right people in your ministry team meetings, and then getting all your team together for those all-staff vision-cast, information-sharing, story-sharing meetings. You need to have the right people in the right meetings. Then, what you need to, you need to, at the end of every meeting, figure out based on our conversation, based on the decisions that were made, what needs to be communicated to teammates who were not in this meeting. Patrick Lencioni calls that cascading communications. We need to figure out, especially the senior leadership team, if we made some decisions or we talked about some things that people need to hear and they weren’t part of this conversation, we need to be intentional about making sure that gets communicated through the rest of our structure. To improve communications, you need to have regular one-on-ones with the people on your team. And that’s a good place then to do some of that cascading communication where you’re sharing our senior leadership team talked about this strategic direction. Let’s talk about in your ministry area what are the specific goals and initiatives you need to be working on to help us move that strategic initiative forward. In order to improve communications, you do have to have those regular ministry team meetings that we talked about. So you’re getting everybody in the room to talk about tactics. You need to leverage communications tools that are designed for, for team collaboration. And here I’m talking about tools like Microsoft Teams or Slack or things like Basecamp. I’m not talking about, though, email or text messaging.

Amy (22:12):


Tony (22:12):

Because email and text messaging are designed for communications between two different people. They’re not designed to promote good communications with a broad team. And then lastly . . .

Amy (22:24):

Collaboration. They don’t promote collaboration.

Tony (22:25):

No, not at all.

Amy (22:26):

And I think that whole texting thing, I would challenge churches, that’s not where a lot of people do their work.

Tony (22:31):


Amy (22:32):

In fact, it’s where they do a lot of their outside church relationship things. And if you’re texting tasks that are not urgent, you know, it’s gonna get lost in the, in the fold. So, yeah, sorry, I cut you off.

Tony (22:42):

Lastly, on communications, I just, you gotta trust your teammates. You gotta trust your leaders. And so I think there’s just this natural human instinct that when we see a group of leaders in a room behind a closed door for whatever reason, we assume the worst is happening.

Amy (23:05):

It’s so true, right?

Tony (23:05):

That whatever they’re talking about in there going to negatively impact me. And my goodness, you gotta trust your teammates. You gotta trust your leadership. You’re all on the same mission together. And we, I think, sometimes think, well, not, everything’s not being communicated to me. Most oftentimes, the reason why you’re not hearing everything is because you don’t need to hear everything. Somebody else is going to be responsible for that. And as the team grows, honestly, I have experienced this, my goodness, the, the more the team grows, the more the church grows, the less I know about what’s happening in other areas of the church. And frankly, that’s the way it has to be for the church to continue to reach more and more people for Jesus. Alright, Amy, that’s enough of me talking. In this second episode of the series, we discuss how to identify who should be on the leadership team, but we didn’t really have enough time to address a key question related to that, that I’m sure some of our listeners have after listening to that conversation. And it’s this question: what should a senior pastor do if the wrong people have a seat at the table?

Amy (24:16):

Yeah, that’s really a great question. By the way, for our listeners, this will be shorter. So, let me just walk through it.

Tony (24:21):

Yeah, hang on, hang on.

Amy (24:22):

Again, this is a question I get regularly with the churches I serve because when we’re on the ground during the staffing and structure review, the structure component is actually the final session of the two days we spend together. And here’s why. As we say all the time when we approach structure, it must follow the strategic planning piece. So those strategies, those ministry strategies need to be defined first and then the structure second and then the people third. So, in our process, I actually like to get an assessment on the team prior to getting to structure. And you might be thinking, “Hey, you just said structure first, then people,” and you’d be right. But here’s why I do that assessment first. So, in our first session, we do a strengths assessment. And what that does is it reveals the diversity or lack of diversity of the natural strengths on the team. Second, we have performance conversations about the team as well as an assessment of the leadership capacity of their leaders. And then third, we look at the Unstuck Team’s results, where we’re looking at health, performance, culture, all of that. And when that’s complete, then we put the people stuff down and talk through the structure recommendations. And what I mean by that is now we’ve got some information we didn’t have before as we’re thinking about our team, as we’re thinking about where we’re winning, thinking about where we’re not winning from a, a staffing perspective. And so, all of those conversations on day one, they really build upon themselves. So, this would be a typical conversation after confirming the new structure. You know, we, we’ve got a structure out there. We’re not thinking people yet, but it’s bringing the alignment, clearing up ministry lanes. And then, someone will go, “You know, Joe, who’s our Groups Director, I really thought that he should be on this team, but I’m a little more aware now that he’s maybe more of a doer than a leader. And he doesn’t have the leadership capacity ’cause we had that conversation yesterday.”

Tony (26:15):


Amy (26:16):

So this doesn’t answer the question yet, Tony, that you asked me, but this is a way to prevent people from being on the senior leadership team that don’t have the leadership capacity or maybe the alignment to the mission, vision or strategies of the church. It is, so you all know this, I’d rather add people to the team than kick people off.

Tony (26:35):

That’s a lot easier. That’s a lot easier. That’s right.

Amy (26:38):

Yeah. So, as you can imagine, when we begin working through the structure, sometimes there are people that have been on the senior leadership team prior until this engagement, but now with further assessment, maybe they should not be on the team going forward. So back to your original question: what should a senior pastor do if the wrong people have a seat at the table? And here’s how I counsel churches. Their first step is to begin praying about that situation. I mean, God wants healthy leaders and healthy churches as well. And what I experience in doing these reviews is that God is really faithful when there’s someone that needs to be moved. I often refer to Deuteronomy 31:8 that the Lord is the one who will go before you. He will be with you. He will not leave you or abandon you. Do not be afraid or discouraged. In other words, what I observe time and time again is that when I get onsite with a church, God’s already gone before me. He’s already working and stirring up things in people’s, you know, thoughts, lives as they, you know, pay attention to what God’s teaching them. He is with us in those conversations. Things are revealed that no one could put their finger on. And then I tell the churches it is like 80% of the time in the days following a staffing and structure review, they go, they have this epiphany. Or they see something, or someone steps down. Or they have this crucial conversation, which there was so much more behind the things that we talked about onsite that get brought out into the open. So, he’s very faithful in starting the work that you’re going to initiate that you have to follow up on. So, that’s the first one is just really praying about that situation. The second step is to confirm the reason that they are not qualified in this role. So, is it a character issue? Is it a competence issue? Is it a lack of leadership capacity? You need to identify the why before you move to the next step, which is step three, engaging the tough conversations. So some things to think about as you plan that tough conversation, you need to start by asking some questions. You know, having a conversation with them, what’s working, what’s not. Are you fulfilled? Some way to start that conversation because don’t be surprised if they actually open the door to the difficult issues you were avoiding.

Tony (28:56):


Amy (28:56):

And as you talk about the senior leadership team, you need to recast some new vision. You know, state the clear expectation of the role. You need to be honest. You need to be clear. Explain what success looks like as a senior leadership team member. And then, you’ve gotta communicate the next steps. And they should have been predetermined in the prior one, really getting diagnostic about what’s the, what’s the lack of fit on this team? You know, if it is a character issue, we often talk about those as intervention conversations.

Tony (29:25):


Amy (29:25):

And by the way, if you are a people person, you probably need to write out your conversation so that you can be both clear, clear and kind. But intervention, a character issue, you can’t have character, big headline character issues on your senior leadership team. If it’s a, a competence issue, so let’s say you actually believe they have the potential for upward leadership capacity, they’re just not behaving that way. If you believe they can actually improve, then I think there’s room for giving the hard message. You know, “You’re not leading at a level that we need our senior leadership team people to lead at, but I believe you can get there.” And so this is where we get into train and evaluate, provide coaching resources, give them a stretch assignment, but stay on top of it and, and a clear picture of what success looks like. But bottom line, the truth is a restructure, like what we lead through in the staffing and structure, is really an opportunity to lean on those moves. So, you know, it’s not unusual. Sometimes, I’ve got a long-time Care Pastor that’s been reporting to that Lead Pastor or Executive Pastor, you know, for decades. But restructures commonly do what we just talked about. They reduce the span of care for that Lead Pastor and Executive Pastor. Plus, this Care Pastor is probably an island or a silo that needs to be part of another team. Another example would be what we discover is we’ve got leaders who are part of the same ministry team in a sense, meaning they’re maybe the Next Steps Team where we’re trying to get people to take next steps. You’ve got that Care Pastor. Then you’ve also got this Groups Pastor reporting directly to the Lead Pastor. That’s the opportunity to shore that up because we’re gonna have silos. So, a restructure gives you the opportunity to redesign those ministry lanes. So, you know, tough conversations are followed through by tough decisions, and that’s leadership. So if character issues are not cleaned up, if competency or capacity issues aren’t, then you have to be a leader and have, make those tough decisions. And for any of you, if you haven’t read it, when you have tough decisions in front of you, I would actually check out the book by Dr. Henry Cloud. It’s a couple decades old, I think now, Tony.

Tony (31:34):


Amy (31:34):

But Necessary Endings, you know, sometimes you just have to get your mind back in the right mindset of why you as the leader have to have this conversation. And there’s some great tools to put in your tool belt to help you with those. So that’s my take on those ones. I know there’s a lot, probably a lot of specifics out there, but I think if you follow that roadmap we just talked about, it’ll be a more effective move. So, Tony, any final thoughts you have to share as we wrap up, not just this episode, but this series? Well,

Tony (32:02):

Well, first of all, let me just double down on Dr. Cloud’s book, Necessary Endings. It, Amy it may be in my top 10 books that I’ve read in my career as far as leadership and leading teams and leading people.

Amy (32:15):

Yep, I agree,

Tony (32:15):

So definitely worth checking out. But also, I, I just wanna acknowledge that we’ve been very forward and to the point in this series, and it’s actually one of the culture-shaping behaviors that we’ve defined for our team at The Unstuck Group. We say we wanna say the hard things. We don’t wanna shy away from being forward and prescriptive when it comes to churches getting healthier. And I think we’ve definitely done that in the series. Because as I said at the beginning, it’s a topic that I’m really passionate about. So I’d love to just offer some words of encouragement here as we wrap up our conversations on senior leadership teams. It really does take courage to look in the mirror and choose to see what is rather than what you want to see. And the most difficult type of evaluation is when we’re asked to evaluate ourselves. Give a leader an idea, and he or she can chop it to pieces. Give a leader a plan, and he or she can determine what’s missing and what isn’t. But ask a leader to assess his or her effectiveness and that of their own senior leadership team, and all certainty and clarity quickly evaporates. And I just wanna be clear that I’m not on a witch hunt to tell you you are doing everything wrong. In fact, it’s likely that if you’re listening to this series, you’re already doing a lot of things right. But my goal is really to help you move forward without feeling tethered to the limitations that directly result from a lack of performance at the top of your ministry organization. The possibility that your senior leadership might be the lid that’s holding you back from making a greater kingdom impact, that comes with the real realization that it doesn’t have to remain that way. It just doesn’t have to remain that way. But, before any changes can take place, you must establish a baseline from which progress can be measured. And that’s why, why I want to leave our listeners with some questions to think about and reflect on this coming week. Here’s the first one. What leadership situations do you need to pray about so that God raises up healthy leaders and makes your church healthy as well? What are the tough conversations that you need to have this coming week? Here’s a second question. Does your team have the right people on it, but it’s not performing at its highest capacity? Depending on your answer, how can you determine whether you need outside help and a fresh perspective? And then the last question, and arguably this is the toughest one, is your senior leadership team the lid that is holding your church back from greater ministry impact? And if so, what do you need to do next? I mean, so much is at stake. Don’t miss this opportunity to propel your ministry to new levels of kingdom work by creating a healthy senior leadership team that in turn is creating a healthy church culture. The keys to overcoming what’s holding your church back are not out there, but they’re in here, within your senior leadership team.

Sean (35:29):

Well, thanks for joining us on this week’s podcast. At The Unstuck Group, our goal is to help pastors grow healthy churches by guiding them to align their vision, strategy, team and action. In everything we do, our priority is to help churches help people meet and follow Jesus. If there’s any way we can serve you and your church, reach out to us today at theunstuckgroup.com. Next week, we’re back with another brand new episode. So until then, have a great week.

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Founder and Lead Strategist of The Unstuck Group. Started in 2009, The Unstuck Group has served 500 churches throughout the United States and several countries around the world. Previously, Tony served on the senior leadership teams of three rapidly growing churches including NewSpring Church in South Carolina. He has five published books including, The Unstuck Church, and, with Amy Anderson, he hosts The Unstuck Church Podcast which has thousands of listeners each month.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.