Building a Team For Momentum

I have been spending the last several days thinking through the way we evaluate the team we are assembling as a church for leadership and carrying out a vision for multiplication into the future. It is stirred by prayerfully evaluating an elder candidate and desiring to create a system to prepare men and women for leadership at Reservoir.

I have as of late talked a bunch about laying foundation stones in the church for future health and just like some of the other blocks we build up, the team responsible for leading the church is a vital stone that must be nurtured and shaped along the way so as to prevent unnecessary roadblocks or division down the road.

Of course we have biblical guides for elders and deacons in the church but I want a list of keys to give us concrete metrics in reviewing the team. In this nurture and shaping then I have leaned on some others’ expertise for categories to use in evaluation of health of a team and have come up with 6 C’s (which is silly because everyone has C words as their list). And of all places, I found a Rotary article helpful toward this end.

Here then is my list, character, competency, chemistry, capacity, courage, and calling.

Character – This is our biblically outlined set of attributes of being above reproach respectable, hospitable, uncontentious, not greedy, just, and clinging to what is good (1 Timothy 3:2-7; Titus 1:6-9).

Are the members of the team people of character? Are they trustworthy and reliable? Have they endeavored to make the priorities of the team their own and are they willing to pursue what is right over self? These are important questions and while character can seem surface level you actually get a better sense of it over time. Things of character are revealed as difficulties arise and decisions are carried out. This is why Paul in his elder qualifications has the man’s reputation in mind. What do those that know him best say of his character?

Hopefully by the time the person joins our team their character has been proven but like anything, we can slip or let sin linger and go off the rails. We must remain watchful over not only doctrine but our lives as well.

Competency – We can never assume that because someone has character they also have the competency to actually lead. Do they have the life refine experience and gifting as well as Spirit-infused ability to accomplish the tasks required? And more than just the ability to do it, does the candidate possess the will to do it. Are they willing to lend their expertise for the greater good and glory of Christ rather than their own name?

This can be taught with training and apprenticeship but we have to be careful where this lacks because it will be a definite drag on momentum of the team and church they are leading.

Chemistry – Often neglected in the church because we are all suppose to get along, chemistry is vital for healthy teams to move forward. This is not about forming a team of lemmings but people that trust each other and have the best interests of the team and church in mind and heart. This is a single-mindedness that defines a group that can be noticed in personalities, process, and productivity.

If we have to keep coming back to the table to discern why things unfold so poorly it might be a chemistry issue. This one requires gracious care because it might be an indicator that the person should not be on the team. just as Paul and Barnabas separated, some times the Lord changes the mix of personalities for healthy chemistry in leadership teams.

Capacity – While this key is related to whether the person is competent it has to do with the availability to serve and the margin to go beyond mere competency in leading with the team. Does this person have the time necessary to lead and do they have the capacity to grow as a leader?

The person that never grows or never seeks opportunities to develop as a leader is indicating they may not have the capacity for it. Without it only stagnation happens and momentum is stifled if not killed.

Courage – This key might also be called creativity in that not only should the leader be courageous enough to tackle difficulty and hardships, they also need to creatively face opportunities to make a difference.

Especially as elders, these are the leaders responsible for protecting the flock against false teaching or harm and if the individual doesn’t have the backbone (confidence in humble reliance on Christ) to stand for truth they don’t have what it takes to lead. For the health of a team this courage has to be spread around and while the vocational leader, or paid pastor, does have an obligation to take the bulk of hard situations, he can’t be left alone in it. All members of the team need the courage to work with each other and those they lead, even when things get hard.

Calling – The last key for me is probably the most important. Is the person, man in the case of elders, called to be in the office or role they are pursuing? Forming a team of leaders just because they have the resumes for leadership will get the church nowhere. They must be called by God for the time and purpose of leading.

More so than an individual call they should be able to recognize and submit to the Lord’s calling for direction of the church, the vision he has place on their hearts.


These are six keys that we can use to evaluate the health of a team or the addition to a team. By reviewing these aspects of life and leadership a team should be more equipped for moving in the direction the Lord determines for the church.

Of course all of this, in the church context, must be thouroughly bathed in prayed as the team trusts the Spirit to empower and lead them.

So what do you think? What are missing elements of healthy teams or leaders and how do we go about evaluating them?

Worthwhile September 20, 2019

Is Fall actually upon us? In SoCal that means overnight temps in the 50’s and 60’s with daytime temps between 75 and, well 100. Ha. I occasionally miss a Midwest autumn with the smell of falling leaves and chill in the air. It smells like football season and Thanksgiving. Ah, nostalgia.

This week I have a trio of phenomenal articles and a video, all worthwhile. Take up and read, and watch.


First out of the gate was a stirring piece by Jared C. Wilson on the recent suicide of Jarrid Wilson. No relation just the same name. “There Should Be Two of Us” is honest and a reminder to all of us that our friends, the people we associate with and those around us can all suffer from depression. Maybe we become more equipped to love, stick with, and care for those in pain.

I am doing well now, and have been for a long time, but I know the feeling of everything being too much, the weight of the fear of never getting better, the emotional drowning of all those breakers and waves. I have heard the lies that nothing will change, that nobody really understands, that people would be better off without the burden of me, and all the rest. And in brief doubtful moments I believed them.


That is the enemy speaking. I don’t know what brought me back from the brink, really. A different kind of fear, I suspect. The fear of missing out on what might happen tomorrow. More than likely, tomorrow would be just the same as today. Every day seems to bring the same pain, the same worry, the same hopelessness. But what if tomorrow’s different? Do I want to rob myself of finding out? And do I want to hurt those I love? A residual curiosity about what might happen if I don’t give up thankfully proved slightly stronger than the despair.


For seriously depressed persons, I know these thoughts don’t come easily, if they come at all. For those seriously struggling with suicidal thoughts, the illness crowds out rationality and logic, as well as sentimentality and hope.


But it is in these moments, perhaps, that faith is most faith. If you cannot see the light, as the saying goes, cast an anchor in the dark. Doubt your doubts. Believe what you can’t. 

Read the essay on For The Church.


Next a call to weak leadership by Darryl Dash. It’s not what you think but a call to biblical leadership fully aquainted with weakness and the need for the Spirit’s power to lead.

“I’m convinced our most common leadership model within the North American church resembles that of the Corinthians. We long for the so-called super-apostles. We want the gifted, the successful, the articulate, the men and women who get things done. Our leaders are allowed to suffer, but only in the past tense. We want winners, people who’ve beat the odds…It’s time to rewrite our leadership playbook. It’s time for leaders who’ve learned the power of weakness.”

Dash looks at Paul in 2 Corinthians for guidance and I think he is on to something. This last week I have been meeting with groups in our church to discuss a new network partnership for us. These talks have also brought on questions of the church’s future and I was quick to share that like Paul I am often “burdened beyond my strength.” And that is exactly where I want to be so I keep trusting Jesus.

Think of how you lead, and give it a read here.


Thirdly, this bit from the last book written by David Powlison shared by Justin Taylor. In it Powlison gives a front row view of a heart given to Christ. What it means to suffer and have hope. Ultimately hope in our Savior.

In the midst of my confusion, unbelief, and fear of death, God used Ezekiel 36:25–27 to bring me to faith. It was my first encounter with the belt of truth that Jesus gives his people. It was my first encounter with the sword of the Spirit that exposes and heals. At that moment, I knew the truth of what Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). It was God who shone his light into my heart and awakened me from the slumber of sin and death.


Now more than four decades later, I am staring death in the face. Instead of my faith failing, the promise of a new heart holds true. God is still shining into the darkness of my heart to give me the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. The reality of death has made the truth of God’s Word come alive to me. 

Read the rest here.


Lastly, here is a short video description of discipleship that is spot on and might spur something in us.


Have a wonderful weekend. Stick close to your people, breathe deep, go for a walk, and go to church. You are loved. You are worth it.

Worthwhile September 13, 2019

It’s Friday the thirteenth. That’s bad right? Maybe something fun will happen today.

I took a week off so today there are four bits of goodness for your weekend reading. Be encouraged, perplexed and try to keep rhythm.


The week began with the sad news that a well-known pastor had taken his own life. Jarrid Wilson was a Southern California mega-church associate pastor and author. He also was a vocal and active advocate for raising awareness of mental health issues as he shared of his own struggles with depression.

In light of this loss Justin Taylor shared snippets from Mark Meynell’s When Darkness Seems My Closest Friend: Reflections on Life and Ministry with Depression.

Three things you can do to help friends with depression are be present, persist, and reassure.

Read the list here. And if you find yourself on the edge please reach out to the Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255.


Next from Tyler Braun, a piece on the reluctant leader. Braun shares how he has questioned his own calling and finds a general reluctance from those that are truly called. In fact it is something that has kept him humble in ministry.

While it can be a good sign, it can also be a negative if it hides laziness or fear etc.

This is why reluctance can be powerful in leadership. From the start there is a sense of unknowing: is this the right fit? These questions keep the leader from believing they are bigger than the task.


There is also a great sense of hard-nosed tenacity toward the responsibility of leadership because reluctance never allowed the task to become too glamorous. Letdown is far less likely an outcome because the reluctant leader never believed it was going to be glorious.

The piece resonated with me because i have often noticed a soft reluctance in a leader indicates more preparedness for the role, at least in the church.

Read Braun on his blog Man of Depravity.


This week I also noticed this article on the STEM education and the waste it is. Of course I am interested because I have kids in STEAM (they have to include arts again) programs and am keenly interested. And it doesn’t appear to be a hit job from a classical education advocate.

The point is that technology corrupts education. Let that stew.

I need to finish it but wanted to share it with you. Especially given that the proven most effective piece of technology in the classroom is an overhead projector used by a competent teacher.

Read Jared Woodward’s article on American Affairs.


Lastly, a newsletter from John Starke on being rhythm oriented rather than goal oriented. It has me thinking.

As my wife says though you may not be either, it isn’t black and white.


That’s it homies. Listen to some George Clinton and the P Funk Allstars. Enjoy the weekend. You matter. People love you. Reach out. Breathe deep and experience the grace of Christ.

Worthwhile August 16, 2019

The back to school edition… which means it is slim. As a parent of three elementary aged kiddos, and a PTA president it has been a busy week. I also had a couple great meetings our elders, and local pastors for care and encouragement.

It’s the good life though. I wouldn’t trade it.

For our weekend reviewing and viewing, three bits, one of which you may have seen.


First out of the gate is a class piece from Jennie Pollock on Think Theology. She writes to open our thinking to viewing the calming of the storm story in Mark 4.

We all have heard sermons on the sleeping Jesus and the disciples waking him in fear for their lives.

Jennie does good work here, not condemning the disciples for cowardice and waking the sleeping Savior, but her take does lend us a bit of a gut check about just who we think Jesus is.

In the end, we can live in confidence because our Savior controls all things…

Give it a read here.


Next, to what you may have already seen. Anderson Cooper interviewing Stephen Colbert and asking about suffering.

It is a great take on gratefulness and the reality of suffering. By Anderson’s posture it seems he wants to believe what Colbert does but it is just beyond reach. We know better. Or should. Because we are not alone in our suffering, or the experience of it, we can cling to Jesus for hope and help.

Watch the whole seven minutes, you will be encouraged.


And finally some thoughts on leadership from Seth Godin:

“Leaders create the conditions where people choose new actions.

“The choices are voluntary. They’re made by people who see a new landscape, new opportunities and new options.

“You can’t make people change. But you can create an environment where they choose to.”

Now to go and do likewise…


Happy Friday. Enjoy your friends. Laugh more. Be grateful in all circumstances. And know that in Jesus you are loved more than you can imagine.