Team meeting
How high do you set the bar for your ministry team? (IStock photo)

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If you are a leader of an organization, then you have the awesome responsibility of establishing the parameters by which your organization will be successful.

Now, as I feel the need in every post like this, Jesus sets the bar. Period. He is our standard. But it would be foolish to ignore the fact that God allows people to lead, even in the church. And as Christian leaders, we set the bar in our church for many of the things that happen in the church.

A mentor of mine always says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” He didn’t make up the saying, but he’s learned in his 70-plus years' experience how true a statement it is. Are you leading with the idea that you are setting the bar for the people you are trying to lead?

Here are seven ways the leader sets the bar:

1. Vision casting. The God-given vision to the people is primarily communicated by the senior leader. Others will only take it as serious as you do. Keeping it ever before the people primarily is in your hands.

2. Character. The moral value of the church and staff follows closely behind its senior leadership. Our example is Jesus, and none of us fully live out that standard, but the quality of the church’s character—in every major area of life—will mirror closely to the depth of the leader’s character.

3. Team spirit. If the leader isn’t a cheerleader for the team, there will seldom be any cheerleaders on the team. Energy and enthusiasm is often directly proportional to the attitude of the leader.

4. Generosity. No church—and no organization, for that matter—will be more generous than that of its most senior leadership. There may be individuals who are generous, but as a whole, people follow the example of leadership in this area as much or more than any other.

5. Completing goals and objectives. The leader doesn’t complete all the tasks—and shouldn’t—but ultimately the leader sets the bar on whether goals and objectives are met. Complacency prevails where the leader doesn’t set measurable progress as a value and ensure systems are in place to meet them.

6. Creativity. The leader doesn’t have to be the most creative person—and seldom is—but the team will be no more creative than the leader allows. A leader that stifles idea generation puts a lid on creativity and eventually curtails growth and change.

7. Pace. The speed of change and the speed of work on a team is set by the leader. If the leader moves too slow, so moves the team. If the leader moves too fast, the team will do likewise.

Team members will seldom outperform the bar their leader sets for them. Consequently, and why this is so important a discussion, an organization will normally cease to grow beyond the bar of the leader.

Be careful, leader, of the bars you set for your team.

Ron Edmondson is a church planter and pastor with a heart for strategy, leadership and marketing, especially geared toward developing churches and growing and improving the kingdom of God.

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