Teamwork Is Important, But Lasting Success Needs One Visionary Leader

It takes a single leader to help call the shots, assemble the team, build the systems, bring people on board, and help the dream become reality. While there are roles for others, holes to fill, and pieces that need to be delegated, the significance of a single leader can’t be underestimated.

Incredible talent on sports teams helps wins to happen. But it’s possible for a team to not win as many games when they have too many highly talented people on the same team. You need a crew, but you only need (and can handle) one strong visionary leader to bring things to completion and success.

I’m taking note of great stuff from a recent book I’ve been reading  – The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi – and thinking about how it applies in the church world.

Use your leadership gifts to take the helm and lead the way.

Many people in the church are willing to help, but it’s much more difficult to discover someone to lead a ministry or project. If you have the gift of leadership (or serving, teaching, or giving), then do it big and do it well.

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Romans 12:6-8

Personally invite strong leaders.

Approach the strongest leaders in your church to serve in ministries that need to be staffed and led. Strong leaders won’t often respond to the “we need a warm body” approach. They want a challenge, a meaningful role, and an opportunity to make a difference. I don’t know how many times I’ve had the privilege of sitting down with a church member, looking them in the eye and saying, “This is a big ask. I have a role that we created. It’s not an easy thing and I’m not sure what it will look like. But as I was praying for a leader to take it on, you came to mind. We can always shoot a little lower and divide the role, but my dream is this. Would you consider leading it fully for a season?”

High quality folks in ministry don’t typically respond to a bulletin plea or general appeal. They need to be invited personally.

Empower people to serve in the ministry.

I’ve written before that we must “delegate responsibility, not tasks.” I am motivated to continually turn over the reigns for others to fully lead because they need the experience and the church needs them to lead. Their testimony in a few years could include a simple invitation to take on a ministry and go with it.

The best way to empower someone is to give them the tools and turn them loose. We must focus on their growth, fulfillment, and enjoyment of their calling to serve.

If we empower for our own benefit, it won’t work. If we’re averse to the messiness of letting others lead and do it to the best of their ability, it will stress us out. If we think we can do it all ourselves, we will burn out and rob others of the joy of serving in kingdom work.

Stay in connection with key leaders.

Key leaders need to know you are noticing them. They need to be reminded of the vision. They need to experience the reward of serving in significant ways, and have access to you and the right tools and budgets to accomplish stuff.

Too often, we get stuck trying to grease the squeaky wheel, using all our valuable time on issues and not enough time recruiting, encouraging, and equipping leaders who can help us do those very things with smaller groups of people.

If it’s true that we need one solid visionary leader to help accomplish ministry in various areas around our church, one of the best things the senior leader can do is to pray for, equip, and draw in those leaders for key leadership roles.