Whenever I have talked with church planters, a common warning comes from them. It’s always something like “Don’t surrender your vision to anyone.”

Many planters warn that disgruntled and baggaged people seek out new churches and attempt to shape them into their own vision. That vision can take the form of a particular kind of music, a church model, or even the kind of people sought after.

It has become very clear to me that church leaders have to know what they’re willing to go to the mat for, and those who follow their lead need to know that too. Ambiguity is an enemy to new churches.

One of the things I have been thinking about lately is teamwork. Working in teams has multiple benefits. The first is that it takes potentially harmful power away from individuals. It prevents autocratic action. Healthy churches are communities.

Teamwork also encourages individuals to use their ability and insight in productive ways. A leader who does not try to cultivate and enable mutual contributions is not “leading” well.

It takes time to develop this kind of involvement. Leadership trust has to be developed, and mechanisms that encourage teamwork have to be created.

Empowering leadership is the nature of true pastoring. The pastor exists for the sheep, not the reverse. This requires special attention on the part of the church leader.