It was probably the biggest mistake I made during my 14 years of serving as a senior pastor. No one had talked to me about the importance of enlisting and equipping a leadership team, so I generally led alone as a young pastor. Now, I would do it differently. Here’s why:
- I would have been a more biblical leader. I am not convinced that the Bible demands a plurality of elders as the church government, but I do believe the Bible teaches that we are not to be loners in our Christian walk. From the beginning, God intended us to serve Him in relationships (Gen. 2:18). My lone ranger leadership was a sin.
- I would have worried less by knowing the team was with me. I tend to bear burdens alone, and I allow those worries to consume me too much. Knowing I wasn’t alone as a pastor would have been incredibly helpful.
- I would have slept better. Because I carried the burdens alone, I often carried them deep into the night. I’m convinced I would have rested more had I gathered a team around me to share the burden.
- I would have made wiser decisions. Some of the worst decisions I made as a pastor, I made alone. Some of the best I made, I sought the input of others. You’d think I would have been wise enough to do that regularly.
- I would have dealt better with my personal sin issues. I know it’s not wise to talk too broadly about one’s sin, but having Christian leaders hold you accountable to godly living is wise. I fought my battles alone, which meant that I most often lost the battle.
- I would have been a more obedient disciplemaker. Having a team around me would have given me a ready-made discipleship pool. It’s hard to be a disciplemaker, though, when you usually minister by yourself.
- I would have learned more. I know now that all around me were other leaders who had much to teach me. They brought to the table their own training and experience from which I could have learned – but I missed the opportunity in my isolation.
The leadership team in your church might be elders, staff, or lay leaders, but the point is that you need that team—even when the church structure has a senior pastor. If you have a leadership team, tell us the positives and negatives of this approach.