Does the Team You Lead Perform?

The challenge of any leader: “is the team I lead getting enough done and in the right way?”  In other words do they PERFORM? A leader of teams is all about the people versus the product. When a team is performing they are working together, recognizing and valuing each one’s uniqueness and abilities. It is only then that a great product is produced. 

As we recruit, establish and train teams what measures our process?

Alison Hardingham and Jenny Royal, in their book Teamwork in Practice, take the word PERFORM, using each letter as marker for evaluation for a team.

  • Productivity: is the team getting enough done?
  • Empathy: do the team members feel comfortable with each other
  • Roles & Goals: do they know what they’re supposed to be doing?
  • Flexibility: are they open to outside influence and contribution?
  • Openness: do they say what they think?
  • Recognition: do they praise each other and publicize achievement?
  • Morale: do people want to be in this team?

    From the book Teamwork in Practice, by Alison Hardingham and Jenny Royal

I have the privilege of leading a variety of teams at ClearView Church, Franklin, TN. Teams of staff and teams of volunteers. I consider it a great privilege and responsibility. As a part of that process of leading I constantly evaluate my efforts. The acrostic of PERFORM is another way I can continue with that evaluation.  It cannot be the only way, because ministry is about making God’s glory known which brings in a whole other set of criteria. (A subject for a future blog.)

I am challenged daily in my efforts as it relates to keeping the team on track; allowing the team to soar in their abilities and skills.  I will continue to ask the question: “are the teams PERFORMing?” “Am I doing the right things to facilitate the process, encouraging the people and making God’s glory known?”

Book Review: Mad Church Disease, Overcoming the burnout epidemic

From personal experience and evidence of a heart bathed in God’s grace, Anne Jackson takes us on a journey through the life of one called to ministry. In her book Mad Church Disease, Anne relates personal stories of how a life called to minister can be weighted so much toward doing good for God and others that life becomes out of balance and very unhealthy.

Early in the book, p 37, we see a diagram of four circles, each representing a part of life: physical, social, mental and spiritual. The object of the diagram is to show that life is not balanced unless attention is given to each area. Anne’s frankness about her own struggles made me want to continue reading and see how she brought and continues to strive for balance in her life.

Part two of the book is a more practical way to look at risk factors of burnout and a challenge to examine our own lives for lack of balance. It is in this part that we also find some short interviews with other ministry leaders which reveal their struggles and success as they seek balance.

Throughout the book Anne demonstrates her sense of call to ministry, desire to minister and totally relying on God helps her accomplish what she is called to do. It is in the last pages, the epilogue where she places strong emphasis on the source of strength and balance: relying on God. This is not taken as cliché, but as a fact.

Anne Jackson continues in ministry today and continues to write.  You can follow her journey of faith and ministry at

Mad Church Disease is not a book just for those in ministry as a vocation, but for anyone who is seeking true balance in their lives.

Worship Songs: It is all about the words

For those
who know me you will probably find it hard to believe that at one time in my
ministry I was the president of a local chapter of the Hymn Society of America.


In the
worship tradition in which I was raised a limited number of songs were used.  In that tradition we did not sing Praise to the Lord the Almighty or A
Mighty Fortress, or I Heard the Voice of
Jesus Say
. Those songs are filled with great theology and poetry. These are
songs that have survived, and I believe will continue to survive, in churches
for generations.  On the other hand,
there are other songs from that era and from other past generations that have
not survived.


Today more
worship songs are being written than ever before and these songs, because of
technology, are getting to the local congregations faster than ever before.
There are some that will come and go and then there are others that will be
around for a long time.


What makes
songs stick? It is all about the text. What is the song saying? How is it being
said?  Is it theologically correct?


When we
choose worship songs, we first read the text. 
There could be a moving melody and great arrangement, however, if the
text is not worth singing then none of that matters.


In the end,
song text must line up with God’s Word, which is the ultimate guideline for
anything we sing in church. It is God’s Word that should be the guide for any
element of the service.

Leaders: Influence – Influencers

One of my friends, Randy Elrod, often states: “a leader’s job, privilege and responsibility is to influence influencers.  As you lead you influence people who then in turn become influencers of others.”

In My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers writes:

The people who influence us the most are not those who detain us with their continual talk, but those who live their lives like the stars in the sky and “the lilies of the field”–simply and unaffectedly. Those are the lives that mold and shape us.

As a leader I have many opportunities to be up in front of a group and talk, whether it is the staff I lead or the volunteer teams I get to minister with. In those settings I can state what I think and what I think should be. But the place I make the biggest impact is in how I live, how I lead and how I model being a Christ follower.

Oswald Chambers’s statement above continues this way:
If you want to be of use to God, maintain the proper relationship with Jesus Christ by staying focused on him, and he will make use of you every minute you live – yet you will be unaware, on the conscious level of you life, that you are being used of him.

God has placed me in a position with the potential to influence influencers and he has done the same for you.

Worship, the Sunday After Easter.

We are just one day away from worship the Sunday after Easter. It is one of the days where it seems worship attendance hits a low for the year.  The reality is, it is not one of the lowest attended days of the year; however it seems that way compared to the full houses of worship on Easter. Last week our houses of worship were filled with regular attendees, members and the CEM crowd (Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day Crowd.)

This Sunday as services begin we might be asking ourselves, where are the crowds that sang so beautifully? Where are the visitors that swelled the attendance leaving no empty seats? Were we not friendly enough and they stayed away? Should we have constructed the service differently: different sermon, different songs so that more would have been inspired to return this week?

I am glad that we all came together on that  one day and I pray that what we as worship leaders presented was something that challenged the CEMs to come back and members/attendees to be more faithful.  But for me every Sunday has excitement as Easter, because what we celebrated last Sunday is a reality everyday.  Why do we put so much work into the Easter services when the power of the resurrected Christ is real every day?  What about the other 51 weeks of the year? 

The challenge for me as a worship leader and one who leads the worship planning team at my place of ministry is to reflect the glory of the power of Christ each Sunday. The challenge is to never allow Sunday after Sunday to become routine. My relationship with God is new every morning. The power of the cross is available everyday. God’s desire to be in communication with me is a daily promise.

Sunday is just a day away and honestly I am ready now. I am looking forward to being back in the place we have set aside for corporate worship. I am looking forward to talking to God and listening to Him in worship.

Wherever you are I hope tomorrow will be a day you set aside to spend time in a house of worship. The resurrected Christ is alive and sitting on the throne near God Almighty and they deserve our worship.

For the ClearView teams:

The opening songs tomorrow at ClearView will a remind us of the awesome greatest of a big God, and then move to a reminder of what God did for us through His Son. Then as we move toward the sermon time the songs will encourage us to lean on a God who never lets go.  The sermon this week continues in our study of 1 John. Mark, sent out this update about the sermon earlier in the week: “I could not be more FIRED UP about what God just taught me in 1 John 2:7-14. I can't wait for Sunday.”

I am looking forward to tomorrow and I am praying that we come ready to worship in spirit and in truth. Will you pray with me?