As your church or ministry team grows, the game changes. Different rules apply. Things just don't work the same when you're a church of 300 as they did when you're a church of 30. As a church leader, here's what you can expect at each stage.
The solo pastor can be compared to a track-and-field star. That's where most of us start out, and many choose to stay in that role. On the up side, the single-staff pastorate offers tremendous freedom. On the down side, it can be overwhelming and lonely.
Like the sprinter, the solo pastor may work out with others, but he or she performs alone—often without fanfare and usually before a small crowd peppered with family and friends. Like a marathon runner, you learn to keep going whether anyone is cheering you on or not.
Independent types love it. Sometimes the highly relational do, too, because the smaller church provides opportunity for deeper personal relationships.
The opposite can also happen, especially in a small church with a long history of ingrown relationships. The new pastor can be shut out, viewed by the members as an outsider.
Most leaders I've known want to be part of a team. So even in a church that's at the track-and-field stage, they often pull together a few others to run with, and a team is formed, but the efforts are individual.
With growth comes the inevitable addition of a team member or two, whether paid staff or volunteer. Either way, the small leadership team of two to four resembles golfers.
Golf is a highly relational game. So are these teams. Golf is most enjoyable when played with friends. And while it's preferable that players have similar skills, a stroke a hole is no big deal among pals. The leisurely pace allows for extended conversation and camaraderie. It's a major part of the game. Afterward, everyone is expected to hang around for a snack and a drink while debriefing that round and planning the next one.
For the highly relational pastor, a golf-size leadership team is the ...