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 August 30, 2019

The last Friday of August is upon us and you are craving something worthwhile to read heading into the weekend. And just two bits from me today since I am in a hurry to get to the local library book sale!


First out of the gate is a lengthy piece from Matthew Anderson on pornography and the roots below it. “How Pornography Makes Us Less Human and Less Humane.” While Anderson’s piece is full, extremely long and you must be committed to finish it on a device, Andrew Wilson has clipped the most insightful piece. It comes down to curiositas.

Find Wilson’s quoting here and the full disortation from Anderson here.

You choose what to read depending on how much time you have!


Next up is An Open Letter to Pastors about teens in their congregations. While I agree with what I read I wonder if it would be more fair to make and open letter to parents of teens in a congregation so they know what the pastor is getting at.

Katherine Forester helps us think about discipling these adolescents in the church.

“The simple answers that were enough for us at a younger age aren’t enough now. We need solid theology and sound doctrine, the kind of teaching that acknowledges real difficulties and gives biblical answers to them. We need an apologetic that engages both the heart and the mind. And we need to know that asking these questions is not just okay, but necessary to the formation of a deeper faith…”

“…it’s important that we’re not constantly shuffled off to be only with people our own age. Youth groups have an important role, but that shouldn’t be the only way teens ever interact with the church. We need to be part of the whole church body, living and learning in vital community with the “mothers and fathers” as well as the younger “brothers and sisters” (1 Timothy 5:1–2).”

Give it a read yourself. Of course it is promoting the book Tranformed by Truth written by Forester who is a teen herself.


That’s it. Find some fun and some friends to share it with this weekend. And go to church!

Worthwhile: July 26, 2019

It has been hot here in San Diego County… and much of the country. So as you find some AC to stay cool why not punch up these worthwhile bits of the internet to get you through?!

Three huge gospel influences in today’s pile. What it means to be a pastor, equipping disciples and why we should follow Jesus. Get some.


Jared Wilson’s post this week on pastoral ministry as a job has been getting a lot of attention and it should, it is a good piece. I know firsthand how well-intentioned people can still be confuse as to the actions (other than preaching) and responsibilities of a pastor, and in turn wonder if they are worth the expense.

Wilson points out some key differences that are worth noting and thinking more about.

But the truth is that good pastors are not able to take the pastor hat off at the end of the day or leave their heart for their flocks in the office when they clock out. It’s just not something you can turn off.

For all these reasons and more, it is fine and proper for us “regular” church members to acknowledge that our pastors are special. They aren’t better Christians because of their ministry. They aren’t more justified. They don’t have a special connection to God that we don’t have. And yet their office is unique and brings with it challenges and burdens that most of us do not share.

Jared Wilson

Read it on The Gospel Coalition.


Still in the realm of pastoral ministry is the biblical requirement of equipping the church for ministry. All of the saints.

Jeff Vanderstelt lists five ways to equip in his post on Saturate. If you are in ministry and thinking about how you are to be equipping, Vanderstelt provides a good starting point.

Give it a read and act on it.


Finally, let this truth from Ray Ortland wash over you. Why should you love Jesus?


That’s it. Have a great weekend and remember who loves you. Jesus and me!

Vitality found with brothers

Today I found myself again. I was given tremendous grace from Jesus as I met with a group of dear pastor brothers first at a coffee with two important friends and then the cohort at San Diego Church Planting. The cohort is a group of pastors and planters with a desire to do ministry in our city together for a long time. To support and care for one another.

The day began for me juggling the many needs of our small church and a lamenting session with elder Bill about how tired I was shouldering the responsibilities as a lone staff member. Added to that feeling a headache and pinched nerve in my back, I was a grumpy Gus.

But the Lord used these brothers to administer his grace and goodness to my weary soul. First over coffee I was reminded that my struggles are not unique to me and as we talked about the challenges and hopes of our churches I felt the keen reminder of God’s grace for our work and the need to rely on the Spirit for the power to do the work he has called us to.

Then over lunch connecting with other men doing ministry in our city I found myself thanking the Lord for the support this group has been for me. As we rose to sing together the presence of God was noticeable and the singing was such a rich reminder of the grace we all preach of each week and are in desperate need of ourselves.

From there we heard a gentle exhortation on gentleness in ministry and we studied Scripture together to affirm the call toward it for us as pastors. And we ended our time praying for one another.

I left refreshed. Where I had entered the day with bitterness, Jesus was gentle to me through the love of brothers and he gave me rest. It was like catching my breath and reclaiming the vision for ministry the Lord has given me.

This is the reason I am so passionate about encouraging pastors in our city and county to form groups to pray for one another. And it is why I think it is so vital for churches to partner with doctrinally aligned networks so pastors have this type of encouragement from those invested in their ministry and church.

Pastor, please find other pastors that can support you and pray with you. It is vital and a way to vitality.