Leading Up or Sucking up? How to lead up & lead out

Do you need more small group leaders? How would you like to see an exponential increase of volunteers stepping up to serve in your church? Steve Gladen, Global Small Groups Pastor at Saddleback Church, pulls from his 25 years of small group ministry experience to encourage and equip listeners to lead healthier, growing and more effective small group ministries. In this episode, Steve is joined by co-host Derek and special guest pastor William Johnston of Saddleback church  who shares his top tried and true keys to creating a healthy ministry and staff culture. You are not going to want to miss this episode!

Learn more about getting pastor buy in at https://smallgroupnetwork.com/pastorbuyin/

Will’s Notes

  1. Introduction
  2. Our secular work culture has largely influenced our workplace interactions
  3. Secular work culture shapes us in certain values
  4. Escapism: Working for the weekend. My real life starts when I leave work.
  5. Individualistic Results: My personal results are the upmost sign of success.
  6. Passive responsibility: I am just going to take care of what I need to do. We hand over ownership and leadership completely to a senior leader because we do not want deal with something or we are just lazy. The buck never stops with us

      C.  Quickly provide alternatives

  1. God wants our whole life to reflect him and flow together. While we can turn off our ministry as work minds. We live on mission for Jesus in all facets of life.
  2. We often do not know how to measure success well in church because it is challenging to quantify but our goal is for the Church, the Body of Christ to flourish, for people to meet Jesus, grow to spiritual maturity, serve other and live on mission for him. If it becomes my niche ministry or idea taking off, then we’ve missed it.
  3. Lastly, in the body of Christ we all have responsibility to each other and to live as God has created us. We have interactive mechanisms in our body that course correct when we are sick or even when we trip on shoe. It is the same in the body of Christ

    II.  One of the symptom of these values is challenging or decaying staff cultures 

  1. A large part of our jobs are people and the largest portion of time is spent with our staff.
  2. We are all different people with different personalities, strengths and weaknesses, hobbies, and work ideals.
  3. There is nothing new about people not getting along.
  4. Even Paul and Barnabus reached a point where they were like “Ya, I think I’m good”

       B. We all want to enjoy our place of work.  We all want to enjoy the people we work 

with but it is hard.

  III.    Who is to blame?

  1. If you are waiting for someone to make your workplace enjoyable, you are 50% of the problem. If you are sitting back, waiting, and complaining about what other people are not doing for you without doing anything about it, you are part of the problem.
  2. “We want our lead pastor to set the tone” “We want the denomination to do this” “If the board of directors said this”
  3. We think of certain people in authority as the one with the sole responsibility for our staff dynamics instead of thinking about our staff as something we have an equal part in. If your staff culture is poor, you are a piece of that pie.

IV.  How do we course correct when we are not in the head chair?

  1. We need to reflect on: What do we want in a workplace? and What are steps I can do to help us get there? 
  2. What things would you enjoy in your workplace and begin doing them?

       B. There are some simple questions that I believe lead to crawl steps in building a 

staff that turns into a family. If we as ourselves this set of questions weekly, our 

staff culture will begin improving immediately.

  1. How can I make this time more fun, memorable, intentional?
  2. How much time am I spending with each staff member?
  3. When was the last time I ate a meal with each staff member in a setting of 4 or less people?
  4. When was the last time I asked them about their family?
  5. How much time am I in communal spaces or around other staff?
  6. When was the last time I followed up on something we talked about recently?
  7. What does each staff member want from our relationship? 
  8. When was the last time I encouraged each staff member?

       C. Walk Step Ideas

  1. Have an onboarding strategy for new staff.
  2. Taking them out to eat or bringing lunch in
  3. Every week checking in on questions they have
  4. Inviting them and their spouse over for food or a game night
  5. Know everyone’s favorite drink
  6. Know their bdays and their family members Bdays
  7. Individualized BDay gifts
  8. Show up to something that matters to them

      D. Run Steps

  1. Relationship study about the correlation of long lasting relationship and unique joint experiences
  2. Grand openings
  3. Community Events

V. Building Trust with a Supervisor

  1. The Basics
  2. I typically hear people who want trust or an in with their senior leader to share challenges
  3. We don’t think they are doing something correctly
  4. They are not taking our ideas

      2.   We do not begin with the right intentions.

  1. We connect because we want something
  2. This is never a ploy! If someone takes any of the next steps for their own gain instead of enjoying the people God has placed in your life. It will not be successful. These things done without a heart that sincerely wants to know the other person will probably leave you in the same situation.
    1. This is the difference between leading up and sucking up
  3. Trust with a senior leader begins with a basic friendship

I.  Well that is easy. And the answer to that thought is yes it is easy

  1. It is interesting that most people in our churches desire time and closeness to the senior or lead pastor but when we get on a church staff and are a couple chairs down the table we stop taking initiative and believe everything should be initiated by that senior leader.
    1. So we sit back and wait for our senior leader to initiate and then become frustrated when our relationship does not look the way we want it.

B. Making Changes

  1. In the conversation about building good staff relationship I gave clear next steps
  2. I believe a healthy and sustainable relationship with your senior leader is more about posture.
  3. Questions that lead us to the right posture
  4. When was the last time you prayed for your campus pastor?
  5. When was the last time you asked about their kids?
  6. When was the last time you asked them out for dinner?
  7. When was the last time you asked if there is something you could take off their plate?
  8. When was the last time you just talked with no agenda?
  9. When was the last time you texted them about something happening in their life?

 C. Hard Conversations

1. People are probably thinking “ok, now can I have a hard conversation with 

my supervisor?”

2.        We always need to ask ourselves a set of questions before a conversation 

with a superior where we want to express concern, frustration, or 


       a. When was the last time you encouraged them?

       b. Are my emotions pure or am I mad because…

 i. They shot down my idea.

 ii. Spend more time with another staff member

 Iii. something is going on at home and I do not have a healthy outlet for it.

      c. Am I ok being wrong?

3.  Fear

  1. If you care about your church, you have to be willing to be honest
  2. I understand that their are unhealthy leaders out there who do not welcome feedback or tough conversations but I have seen bitterness build up in people and lead to burnout because they did not have one tough conversation that ended up building and building with their senior leader never knowing there was an issue to start with.
  3. I try to believe the best in people and sincerely hope that if someone is in ministry and in a lead role that they will appreciate your care for the church and when you have a strong relationship built with that leader they will know the intent and trust the words you share.

        4. Responsibility

  1. In many our circles as small group people we are close to the top of leadership. It is our duty to protect our lead pastor. We always have to have their backs. And sometimes that means having hard conversations

       5. Closing

  1. Leading up is not getting your way or making your rise to the top. It is about caring for your church and caring for your leader. If you commit yourself to loving those two things, your church will be a better place.

★ Support this podcast ★

Share This Episode

More To Explore