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A couple of months ago, I did an exercise with my team to make sure that my words and actions were communicating what I really valued. I had two groups from my team answer the question: “What do I really value as we do ministry life together?”

The first group listed:

  • growth/education for our team
  • unity
  • open discussion
  • focus
  • trust
  • moving forward
  • personal health/balance

Then I had the second group come into the room and do the same thing. They didn’t see the previous list. They listed:

  • being blunt/honesty/sharing opinions
  • unity/trust
  • excellence
  • commitment to vision
  • valuing the all-church team over individuals or departments
  • creativity/pushing the edge
  • processing issues (but not constantly)
  • being around fun people & having fun
  • personal development
  • leveraging volunteer teams; empowering teams rather than doing tasks

After the two lists were compiled, I asked both teams to identify the highest values. I suggested it might help them to identify times when I’ve been frustrated about something and consider what value was being challenged. Through that process they identified:

  • being honest and sharing opinions
  • protecting the unity/trust within our team
  • excellence
  • leveraging volunteer teams (leading not doing)

A couple of realizations came out of this exercise for me. First, it was affirming that the teams identified and prioritized the things that I really value. Secondly, I realized there are certain freedoms I give up because I’ve built a team that embraces these values. For example:

  • I’ve given up the freedom to make decisions on the direction of our/my ministry without the input from my team. I’ve hired a bunch of people that have opinions and aren’t afraid to share them. If I don’t allow them to express that part of who they are, they will feel undervalued and unfulfilled.
  • I’ve given up the freedom to remain disconnected. I’ve hired a team that expects full integration of my private life with my family life with my ministry life. In order for others to have trust in me, they have to know me and know that I know them. That means I have to fight every bit of my introvert tendencies (through God’s power in my life) to remain fully engaged in their lives and to reveal what’s happening in my life.
  • I’ve given up the freedom to coast. I’ve hired a team of recovering perfectionists. They’re driven. They’re big dreamers. They have high standards of excellence. That means I can’t slack off. I have to pull my share of the load. I can’t let the team down.
  • I’ve given up the freedom to do it myself. I’ve hired a team that wants to empower others. They understand the value of giving ministry away. That means I can’t hold on to everything I’m doing today…even if it feels like I can do it better. It’s harder to build teams to accomplish ministry, but the ministry is far healthier in the long-run when I let go.

So, what are your leadership values? Does your team know what you value? Do they experience it daily? Maybe it’s time to ask.

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.

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