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In 1965, Bruce Tuckman developed a simple four-stage model of team development that has become an accepted part of thinking about how teams develop. In his article, "Developmental Sequence in Small Groups," Tuckman outlines four stages of team development: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. A successful team knows which stage they are in, and manages transitions between the different stages adeptly. The Forming stage involves the introduction of team members, either at the initiation of the team, or as members are introduced subsequently. Members are likely to be influenced by the expectations and desires they bring with them, and will be keen to understand how the group will operate. In particular, they will be keen to understand how the leadership is likely to operate, in terms of style and character. This is a stage of transition from a group of individuals to a team. As team members grow more confident, the team are likely to enter the Storming phase. Team members will have different opinions as to how the team should operate. Particularly for a Christian team, which may be anxious about conflict arising, the storming phase is a difficult one for the team. The best teams will understand the conflict, actively listen to each other, and navigate an agreed way forwards. Other teams may disintegrate as they bolster their own opinions to weather the storms of the group. As the teams emerge with an agreed method of operating, the team enters the Norming phase. Team members have signed upto a common working method, and everyone is usually willing to share in this. During this phase, team members are able to reconcile their own opinions with the greater needs of the team. Co-operation and collaboration replace the conflict and mistrust of the previous phase. Finally the team reaches the final phase, Performing. The emphasis is now on reaching the team goals, rather than working on team process. Relationships are settled, and team members are likely to build loyalty towards each other. The team is able to manage more complex tasks, and cope with greater change. The performing stage can either lead onto : a return to the forming stage as group membership changes, a new "dorming" stage as the group gets complacent or "adjourning" as the group successfully reaches its goal and completes its work. Let's explore the implications of each of the four stages for team leaders: Forming
Team Leader's Style
Storming Leader needs to be supportive, actively listening to team members, and managing the conflict, generating ideas, and explaining decisions. Leader is under pressure from more vociferous team members.
Norming Leader acts as a team member, as leadership is strarting to be shared. Leader helps to develop consensus.
Performing Leader takes overview, but within the day to day running, the group is sharing leadership between members. Personal relationships have developed which underpin the leadership relationship. Process functions
More directive approach, outlining how the process will develop and laying down a clear structure.
Reaction to Leadership
Team members take a tentative, wait and see approach. Leader will be allowed to lead, but that doesn't guarantee support. Process is driven by
General support for the leadership within the team. Mutual respect underpins this.
Process likely to
The core process
the leader. Some people are reluctant to contribute openly.
break down until conflict is resolved.
should operate smoothly, although there is a danger of focusing on smaller process issues rather than core team work. As roles are accepted and clarified, trust and relationships start to develop to a greater degree. Group is able to come to common decisions. Win-win is more likely than compromise.
well, and is adjusted as necessary. Leadership is shared and tasks delegated. Team starts to operate on higher levels of trust as loyalty and relationships develop. Decision making is easier - some decisions are delegated to subgroups or individuals.
Trust within the team
Individuals are not clear about their contribution. "Getting to know you" phase. Trust may start to be built. Nominated leader is expected to make decisions. Some more vocal members may dominate.
Trust is focused into smaller groups as sub-groups and alliances form.
How Decisions are made
Decisions are hard to make. Members are unwilling to give way. Compromise is a frequent outcome.
This material is copyright to The Teal Trust, (www.teal.org.uk) © 2002, but may be reproduced with permission for non-profit use.
Prayer for Vision
Prayer is powerful. Vision is energising. Combining the two enables the church to undergo a spiritual pilgimage into the future that God is calling. Yet, for many churches, even praying churches with vision, the two are not combined. Consider the elements of prayer and vision. Firstly, vision. Without a clearly stated and well communicated vision, the church will stand still, enjoying the present, or even the past! A vision seeks to identify the corporate and specific vocation of the church. Corporate in that it is a community calling, and specific in that each church is called to focus on different things at different times. Second, strategic intercession. Strategic can mean a range of things - or nothing at all - it seems to be the latest buzz word to add in front of every act that we do to make us feel we are working on something important. In this context, I mean prayer that is informed by the thoughts and desires of the church, yet open to the Lord's prompting. Strategic intercession allows the church to pray corporately it's journey of faith whether or not people are in the same building at the same time. Discerning and moving into vision is a cyclical process. (illustrated right) It needs both prayer and action at each stage. Whilst it is a process, many churches and organisations can be in all four phases at once as they pursue different (but hopefully complementary!) visions for different elements of the church's mission and ministry. The first phase requires two that the vision is developed in prayer, and supported by prayer. Leaders cannot seek a vision for the future without themselves spending much time in prayer, both individually and together as a team. Since we seek God's vision for the church, encouraging members to pray for the vision process increases the number of listening ears. (See our resources on vision forming.) Phase two creates the plans to achieve the vision - the projects, changes in organisation and activities
that will be needed. The amount of action required increases as plans and strategies are drawn up, but this stage also requires careful prayer - the plans need to be the right ones! (See our resources on strategic planning.) The third phase sees the implementation of the changes and projects required to achieve the vision. Those who are action oriented can get on with the multiple tasks required, but the pray-ers also need to be fully involved. Prayer supports the implementation of change. Any vision requires change as the church moves into a different state. Any change brings challenge and conflict. Prayer can help this by minimising the conflict, and by directing pastoral care into the situations where it is needed. This phase of prayer may need to be carefully channelled to a specific group of trusted intercessors rather than to the general church community. (See our resources on introducing change, and handling conflict.) Finally, a period of reflection enables a church to pray through the action it has just taken. Does it need amending? Are there further steps required? This reflection is likely to develop into seeking the next part of the vision and leads back into the first phase of the process. This reflection should seek human views and feelings, but also through prayer, seek God's viewpoint! Pause for Thought : Take some time to reflect on the vision for your church or organisation. Which stage of the process do you think you are at? (It's possible to be at different stages of the process for different ministries within a church.) How can prayer best support the process of developing and moving into vision for your church or organisation?
Characteristics of Strategic Leaders
Here is a checklist of some of the characteristics of Christian leaders who think strategically : Strategic leaders have some insight into the spiritual dimension of what it means for the Kingdom of God if their organization's vision is achieved - that the achievement of vision is not in itself an end, but rather a contribution towards the coming of God's Kingdom ie where God's rule will govern the behaviour of the world. Leaders who think strategically are able to picture a range of possibilities several stages ahead of the current phase of organizational development. Like a good chess player, it was said of Napoleon that he could envisage several steps ahead, with the various permutations of competitive response. For the Christian leader, there may not be a competitive response, but rather a series of internal and external reactions that may alter the action that needs to be taken at subsequent stages. Strategic leadership is pragmatic rather than "head in the clouds". The strategies developed will lead to tactics which will need to engage with, and succeed in, the real world. These strategies must therefore be based on a realistic appraisal of the environment in which the organization finds itself, the resources at its disposal and the opportunities that exist. Nehemiah had a great vision for rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, yet was pragmatic enough to make tactical decisions which prevented his enemies from blocking progress towards the vision. Strategic leaders have a great understanding of timing - have the patience to wait until the timing is right to make a major intervention, yet have the boldness to strike decisively when the moment is right. They, and their organizations, are alert and ready to seize an opportunity. (cf Men of Issachar (1 Chron
15:??) - men who knew the times) Leaders who's current work is future focused are more likely to be working strategically : who invest their time in developing people and capability for the future of the organization as well as managing the current needs of the organization. Joseph as Prime Minister of Egypt after his time in jail was ensuring that the appropriate provisions were made for the time of famine which lay ahead. A strategic leader is willing to work with others in alliances and agreements to make a more significant intervention than either party would be able to make alone. If neessary is willing to subjugate the organization's need for recognition to making progress against a broader agenda for change. Pause for Thought : Review the above six characteristics, not only for yourself but for other key members of your church or organization. Who do you perceive to be able to contribute to strategic discussions about how your vision can be realized.
Conflict Resolution : A view from level IV
Leading in times of severe conflict can challenge a leader's utmost resources and character. Recognising impending conflict in the church, and steering a church through conflict pose significant challenges to leaders anxious to preserve their Christian values and integrity. We are grateful to Tom Fischer, of Ministry Health for this training module. Tom has also provided an excellent bible study on conflict. Also look at Walter Wright's guest extract on Leadership and Forgiveness (pdf) Conflict In Ministry "Conflict is the confrontation between differing expectations, purposes, goals, values, or desires; and/or the competition for limited resources." Though often unwelcome, conflict is a part of ministry. Sometimes it's good. Other times it's destructive. Several scales have been developed to measure the relative severity and destructiveness of conflict. The two most notable are Lederach's "Seven Point Scale" and Speed Lea's "Five Levels Of Conflict." Of these, Leas' classification appears to be the most familiar and commonly used in church circles. Levels Of Conflict Speed Leas of the Alban Institute has identified five levels of conflict in order of ascending complexity, difficulty, and intensity. They are: I. Problem to solve: Goal—Collaborate mutually beneficial solution II. Disagreement: Goal—Problem solving (more public arena) III. Contest: Goal—To win IV. Fight/Flight: Goal—Hurt the opposition or escape V. Intractable Situations: Goal—Annihilate the opposition Level IV: Not Just More Of The Same Speed Leas indicates that though the differences between Level I and Level III conflict is one of degrees, Level IV and VI conflict differ in essential ways. Level IV is not just more of Level III. It is a totally different type of conflict. Whereas reconciliation was the implied goal of Levels I-III, at Level IV-V the transformation of conflict is such that it seeks to hurt and destroy the opposition. Conflict consultants such as Leas initially had difficulty finding materials describing Level IV and V conflict. After looking everywhere in church, business and conflict resolution materials, Speed Leas noted that the only
manuals which accurately described Levels IV and V conflict were military manuals.
What Happens At Level IV
1. Christian Values Run Roughshod. As Vice-President Kostizen noted in the Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod's "Circuit Counselor Manual" "the higher the conflict, the lower the value level people are operating on." Pastors experiencing Level IV conflict will simply be in awe at the wanton sinful rebellion. In such an environment it may be difficult to keep oneself from succumbing to the pressure. 2. Severe Character Testing. You may think you're an excellent pastor. But Level IV conflict will test it and see whether it's reality or fantasy. The testing corresponds to the intensity of the level of conflict and is akin to Peter's experience of satanic "sifting" when he denied Jesus. 3. Traumatization. No doubt the experience of Level IV is one of the most excruciating spiritual, emotional and physical experiences you can endure. You will get angry, but in response to the intense shock you'll withdraw from members, family, spouse, denominational officials, everyone. Level IV conflict, virtually by definition, will require professional therapy. After all, when all others have apparently abandoned you, at least you know you can count on the therapist if, for nothing else, because they're paid. But competent therapists will be the necessary inexhaustible listening block who will help point you toward healing and hope. 4. Discovering The Experience Of The Habitus Practicus. Brothers may try to encourage you by saying, "You don't have to crucify yourself. Jesus already did." The problem with this and other types of well-intended encouragement is two-fold. First, once at Level IV, there really is no backing out. Damage momentum started will continue until it runs out of energy, things to damage, or people to hurt. The damage cannot be undone. It cannot be stopped. It is out of your power. It just has to burn out. You may be tempted to give up, back out under the guise "It's better for the church." Not always. Sometimes the greater irreparable damage occurs when the pastor does back out and give up instead of remaining steadfast and standing firm in battle. If the conflict is focused on essential "un-compromisable" Christian values (which is often the case), it will require God's servant to maintain an evangelical but strong stand. One's best hope is to look to God's power to end the conflict and salvage whatever will be left. Second, the phrase "you don't have to crucify yourself" and others like it ignore and deny one of the essential aspects of ministerial strength, the habitus practicus. Simply stated, the habitus practicus is the recognition that suffering is an essential element of ministry. The prophets of old preached to prevent the wholesale destruction of God's people. As they watched and experienced the destruction and aftermath, their focus was directed to hope. Ezekiel's response to God's question, "Can these bones live?" was aptly answered, "Only you know, Lord." By this experience of seeing God's miraculous working in an absolutely hopeless situation, Ezekiel learned something about the character of ministry, the habitus practicus.
4. Dismantling Of Leadership. When the ship appears to be sinking, it's always the captain who goes down with the ship. Aside from a few faithful, most of the crew will grab a lifejacket and jump. Instant "promotions" may be the rule of the day. An average member may instantly become congregational chairman. Trusted and qualified leaders, always difficult to find in any situation, are even less likely to come forth under the highly charged Level IV environment.
5. Precipitous Membership Decline. When a congregation experiences Level IV conflict, at least onethird of the membership will leave. Included in this group are key leaders, those who have rebelled and no longer wish to fight, and those who simply don't want to be involved in any conflict at all. They will not come back. In most cases, you don't want them back. What you really want, as painful as the admission may be, is a flock of individuals with true Christian character who can hold up to the stress of trial. 6. Survival Of The Fittest. As members leave, one or two a day for weeks on end and sometimes in groups, leaders will asked the virtually unanswerable "Why?" The bottom line reason is that a strong church requires individuals who can stand in battle. Those who cannot stay, who leave, rebel, or just can't take anymore pain, experience the very real "survival" of the fittest dynamic. However, just because someone "survived" doesn't mean they are "fit." They may need lots of support from the wounds of war and the "shell shock" of Level IV conflict. 7. Widespread Betrayal And Withdrawal of support by a vast majority of key influencers in the congregation. Prior to the outbreak of conflict, there may have been a strong group of influencers to protect you. At Level IV, these are largely non-existent. This leaves one feeling hopeless, defenseless and lonely. 8. Extreme Sense Of Powerlessness: At Level IV there is virtually no means to control the conflict. It is a forest fire gone rampant. Mediators may give support, but they too must wait out the conflict until the appropriate time comes. The best analogy for Level IV conflict is being on a passenger jet. The pilot has died. Fuel is almost empty, and the auto pilot doesn't work. Who will take the controls? Will it be the pastor or will he jump, too? 9. Major Multiple Staff Resignations. In Level IV conflict pastors and other staff are seriously considering writing a resignation and filling out applications for employment elsewhere. The intensity of Level IV can overwhelm one's sense of calling. The pain is so great that the normal response is to "get out." The pain of the ministry can make even the most resolute, gifted, and successful pastors throw in the ministry towel to seek secular employment. 10. Leadership Vacuum. One of the reasons Level IV conflict breaks out is that the essential core leadership base has been disrupted. Equilibrium can be severely disrupted by a vast shift in the congregational power center due to resignations, deaths, transfers out of the area of key, influential, supportive leadership in a very short period of time. Even if second string leaders are available, the disrupted equilibrium caused by the massive, rapid shift in congregational power centers cannot be easily or instantly filled. It takes times for leaders to develop into influencers and gain credibility. Level IV conflict thrives on the vacuum created by that lag time. 11. Marked Drop In Offerings. One of the most obvious marks of Level IV conflict is the precipitous drop in congregational offerings. The rate of decline is seldom less than 10-20% of the annual budget per month. At peak, offerings may decline as much as 80 to 90% of previous annual budget levels before they "bottom out." Whether the finances recover is due to a number of factors. The key here is that Level IV congregational conflict is not characterized by the loss of a few families and a concomitant drop in congregational offerings. It is not losing your top five largest givers. Though these events can be painful, and though the individuals who leave may individually be at Level IV interpersonal conflict, this is not Level IV congregational conflict.
12. Denominational Involvement. At Level IV, you must contact the denominational officials and advise them that everything is breaking out immediately. When you call, don't be surprised if they already know. They just couldn't ethically intervene without you first coming forward to seek help. Since they will know, the question is not whether or not to tell them. The question is whether they will find out early
enough to intervene or too late to be of any help. If you're fortunate, they will immediately support you after your first contact for assistance. If they don't respond, keep on trying. Level IV conflict is not something a pastor can lead by himself and survive. 13. Coping Relationship Blow-out. Many of the relationships which you enjoyed and relied upon have collapsed. Some have collapsed from others' fear of conflict. Others have been convinced by the opposition of your "guilt." Others may not have the capacity to support you at this level. Still others may feel uncomfortable as they witness what may be a frightening "dismantling" of your personality. You may not be able to support them, either, as you start falling apart. Whatever the reasons, coping relationships are also severely threatened in Level IV conflict. Tragically, many of them break permanently and painfully. 14. Family Support Blow-out. Your family's capacity to emotionally support you has dissipated and or metastasized into a raging hatred of the antagonists, the church, the denomination, and God. When your own best supporters get out of control, they are no longer able to be supportive, listening, encouraging and calming. Family members may have held you up over the years and also during the gradual, nagging climb up the intensifying conflict. But at Level IV chances are strong that they, like you, have reached their emotional, physical and spiritual limit. This has numerous consequences on the family, the spouse, and the marital relationship. 15. Successive Avalanches Of Chain-Reactive Stress Shifts. Nobody seems to be themselves, including you. Virtually everyone is caught up in the emotions. Many cannot understand reality. It's as if everyone's flipped. The truth is that they have...to their stress shift mode. 16. Widespread Communication Failures. At Level IV, active listening simply doesn't work with the opposition. Sometimes it doesn't work with the support, either. Emotions are so high that people are driven by self-guided principles. Many of these are irrational. Some are destructive. You can try to talk with people but often it is of no visible immediate effect. Why? Because virtually no one is listening. There are several reasons why they aren't listening. First, it's part of the Level IV spiritual condition. That's specifically what Jesus referred to as the mark of being in the Satan's clutch. "He who has ears to hear..." requires a humble, spiritual condition of the grace-filled, Christ-centered heart. Second, its a physiological phenomena. Individuals in conflict experience a blood pressure change which diverts blood flow from their brain to their muscles. Assumed to be the body's instinct defense response to give strength where it is needed in danger to run, fight, et al, the downside is that the brain is deprived of normal supply of air- and blood-borne nutrients. The result? They just aren't thinking, can't think, and aren't poised to think. 17. Predominance of The Irrational. "What ARE they doing?" "Why are they doing it?" "Don't they see they are destroying the church?" "Don't they see that if they don't stop, the church they are fighting for won't exist?" At Level IV, things are confused and irrational. Everything appears driven by out-of-control emotions. Senseless words, accusations, and actions proliferate throughout the entire organization...or what is left of it. If one tries to confront it directly, one ends up being attacked, slandered, or at the short end of some sort of victimization strategy. Edwin Friedman, in his book From Generation To Generation, described how family and organizational systems are emotive-driven. At perhaps no other time is this more obvious than it is in Level IV conflict. 18. Pervasive Lawlessness. Rampant, obvious, and arrogant disregard for Constitutions, precedent, and established policies. Many congregations are deceived into the belief that if their constitution is clear and that if safeguards are set up, they can "structurally" avoid Level IV conflict by having the right rules. The truth is that though these may be effective at Level I-II, at Level IV, Robert's Rules, Constitutions, bylaws, policies, and the Scriptures are all virtually ineffective means to help control the conflict. Indeed,
attempting to apply and enforce these means may escalate the conflict further. 19. Unrestrained Micro-Enforcement Of Legalism. Everything anybody on the opposing side does is, de facto, demonic. Since the opposition is under control of Satan, it is your God-given responsibility to go on a holy war to investigate, find, enforce, and punish every single form of evil discovered. 20. The Means Justifies Ends. In a holy war there are no rules. The only thing that matters is the end result. Those leading antagonistic efforts in Level IV conflict may reason that since the opposition is so evil, who cares what happens to them? Who cares what price needs to be paid to stop them? Who cares if the church falls apart as a result of the conflict? The most important thing, in their minds, is to keep the opposition from getting away with whatever they are doing...at all costs. 21. Avoidance Of Accountability. If you think you're going to get the elders to go to someone's house and excommunicate them during the heat of Level IV conflict, your fantasy life is richer than anything Disneyland can concoct. In Level IV conflict you will be unfairly attacked, railed, libeled, slandered and accused of everything from not having your shoes tied during your sermon to being a child abuser, embezzler, sex maniac, and a raging psychopath about to commit murder. Of course, the accusations are not true. But they demonstrate just how far the Level IV avoidance and denial of accountability can go. Is it hideous? Is it satanic? Does it hurt? Yes, Yes, Yes! 22. Self-Survival Strategies. When survival is the issue, there are two basic strategies for selfprotection. The first is flee, hide and totally separate oneself from the threat as far as possible. The second strategy is relationship fusion. Relational fusion is marked by extremely tight dependencies on certain individuals and groups. It is a defense strategy akin to the "old west" Pioneer's practice gathering the wagon trains in a circle to protect themselves from the enemy. The American Revolutionary motto, "United we stand, divided we fall," is another example of defensive fusion. Because of the ultimate importance of self-survival, whatever differences might have existed before may be ignored. Sometimes this makes for some rather "strange", irrational associations. These associations may seem more like "packs" or "gangs." But, whatever their actions, their presence indicates a remarkable directing of energies for self-survival. 23. Uncertain Church Future. At Level IV conflict there is no guarantee the church will survive at all. Certainly, having experienced Level IV conflict, it will not be the same as it had been. Though timely intervention, churchmanship, and other interventions may help, at Level IV one gains an acute realization that the church exists only by the grace and will of God. If the church will survive, it will be a demonstration of Christ's promise, "I will build My Church." 24. A Sense Of Uncertainty For Your Own Professional Future. The experience of Level IV conflict is such that it entails an unprecedented degree of personal and professional trauma. The weight of guilt, worthlessness, shame, failure and rejection may combine with an overwhelming feeling of professional ineptness and incompetence. Resignation considerations can appear to be the only possible escape from the pain. Other important decisions with long-term consequences, both personal and professional, may also be strongly considered in reaction to the circumstances. Such decisions, however, may be unwise and imprudent. Robert Schuler's "Peak to Peak" principle ought to be the guide for any decision at this time. "When you're at the highs in life, change your direction. When you're in the valleys of life, change yourself." Level IV is the lowest valley you may ever experience. But don't jump out of the proverbial frying pan into the fire. Don't just react to the confusing stimuli which appear to engulf you. You're in the valley. Stop, find spiritual solitude, and let God change you. As He does, He'll also be changing the organization in positive ways that will result in the basis of a passionate, dynamic, visiondriven organization.
What Happens In The Aftermath
The description of things which occur in Level IV conflict above is by no means anywhere near exhaustive. However, it does give an adequate picture of what occurs in Level IV conflict. As devastating as the Level IV experience can be, in the aftermath of conflict many extraordinary and remarkable things occur. Those able to "hang in there" will experience the greatest joy in their entire ministries as they witness many things, including the following. 1) Organizational Attitude Change. Though initially it appears "dead" and lifeless, the reality is that after a few months a new, more positive attitude starts to emerge. New leaders become more confident and form ministry teams to get things done. 2) Increase In Individual Responsibility. Members--both passive and active--who may have relied heavily on the pastor to do it all and take the heat, realize that the pastor cannot do it all. They step in and take initiative. For some it is their first time. They key, however, is not their experience. It's their heart. They love the church and will do what is necessary. 3) Change in Spiritual Level. After Level IV is done it is obvious to those who remain that God has been in charge. He has brought them to this point exclusively by His gracious protection. As individuals in pain seek God, so also churches which suffer also seek God for refuge and strength (Psalm 46). 4) Return to a New "Normal" Equilibrium. When the conflict subsides, it will be akin to Noah's experience when the ark finally stopped on dry ground. It will be the same building, but everything will appear to be so different. Church attendance will stabilize and begin a rebound. People will start shaking hands. Involvement in normal groups may resume or be replaced by new groups. Last, of course, the finances will start to rebound. 5) Restructuring Of Leadership. When virtually everyone else's character has failed, there are a chosen few in the remnant who rise to the top. These are not necessarily the existing leaders. Often they come from the silent majority, from among those who have previously refused elective service or simply prefer to work in the background. Their love for the Lord, His church, and for the pastor, turns into a passionate and effective camaraderie and confidential support for the ministry during this difficult time. 6) Appreciation Of The Tenacity Of The Church. One of my favorite sayings is "You can't kill a church." Though over-simplistic, this saying does make a point. Churches are strong. Their social fabric is rugged. They can go through decades and centuries of conflict, rough-riding, severe schism, doctrinal controversy, a variety of pastors and leaders...and still endure. Churches are tough. That's how God intended them to be. Trust this special God-given characteristic of the church. Leaders who, in spite of Level IV conflict, are able to muster up enough tenacity to function-even on the most minimal level--resource and reinforce that tenacity. Such tenacity is solidly based on Jesus' promise, "I shall build my Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." Churches are divinely strong. Leaders and churches undergoing Level IV conflict have a first-hand experience of beholding the realization of Christ's promise right before their very eyes.
What To Do If You're in Level IV Conflict
1) Persevere. The word "persevere" is interesting in that after the prefix "per-" is the word "severe."
That's what perseverance is--the ability to endure the "severe." 2) Connect With God. Perseverance at Level IV conflict requires more strength than what individuals can bear on their own. One desperately needs God in this kind of weakness. Get that connection with God going by reading the Bible in a deeper manner than ever before. After all, the Bible is more than just a source for sermon material, isn't it? Level IV conflict will create an environment for you to see and experience the greater riches of God's Word. Your connection with Him is your greatest defense. 3) Seek Denominational Guidance and Support. Granted, it appears that in too many cases finding denominational executives willing to get their hands dirty and risk political capital for the brother is difficult. Start at the top and work down. Don't be afraid to contact them too soon. The lesser the level of conflict when intervention begins, the greater the chance of avoiding direct and collateral damage. If those at the top don't wish to intervene, keep searching. Every denomination, somewhere, has people who really have a heart and conviction for ministry. They are gifted, able and supportive to assist you. Hopefully they will facilitate mediation and reconciliation processes. Whether them or others, you will need competent mediators/reconcilers. Whatever happens is partly their responsibility, too. They are responsible to God for you and your congregation. Their responsibility is to admonish when necessary, intervene when appropriate, and encourage at all times. 4) Seek Peers For Support. If need be, put out some "feelers" for peers who may also have experienced significant conflict. As they say, "There's a new one born every minute." Certainly one hopes that it is not the case. The point is, however, that by the time one completes their ministry, they have probably had some severe conflict, perhaps at Level IV. Talk with other brothers and sisters in ministry inside and, if necessary, outside your denomination. Community clergy associations can be helpful. Go to community leaders, therapists, and those who are "in the know" in your greater community. Those which may be most helpful when denominational sources fail, are a) Mega-Church Pastors. A favorite, but not always accurate, saying of mine is "Little churches, little conflict. Big churches, big conflict." Large church pastors, pastors who have grown a church from 0-1000, and pastors of fast-growing congregations, are generally skilled and gifted conflict managers. They have a "conflict management intelligence" as part of their leadership gifts which gives them a helpful supportive perspective. Get that perspective. Don't be too proud. Call them up. Ask for their quality time. Sit at their feet and learn. They will most likely be willing to help. After all, they have paid the price too, perhaps many, many times. Of course, don't forget the pastors out in "Nazareth" too. Great things come from the unknown, obscure, forgotten and neglected corners of the Kingdom. In fact, it is from those "Nazareths" that the greatest things can arise to give special strength.
b) Conflict Consultants. There are many of them out there. The difficulty is finding the one right for you. In addition, there may also be a consultation fee. Don't let that scare you. As the saying goes, "Advice is worth what you pay for it!"
c) Community And Organizational Leaders: Have you ever chatted with a CEO? A University Chancellor? The Head Of The University Business or Law School? The Director of a Social Service agency? The President of very large religious or secular
organization? A Lawyer, Judge, or Politician? Some of the trauma individuals experience in Level IV is the result of not having repeated, regular, daily experience of conflict. Though a blessing, it can also be a curse. Leaders of organizations experience the same thing as pastors and other leaders do in the church. Rub shoulders with them. Experience how God can bless and support His ministry in you through what Luther called the "Kingdom of the Left Hand" (i.e. the secular vocations). Don't be shy. Just pick up the phone and give them a call. It doesn't matter if they know you or not. If they are respected in the community, it is probably because they give respect and support. They'll probably give it to you, too.
d) Funeral Directors (!): Because of their frequent association with a wide variety of pastors and church families, they are a surprising possibly excellent source. They know everything about everybody everywhere, including pastors. They know many of them personally. They know the good, the bad, the inside and out. They hear it all. They can be very helpful and professional. They also are familiar with dealing with grieving, troubled individuals. Just be sure that they are confidential, too! You don't' really want to add more to the funeral home rumor mill, do you? e) Cyber-support: As Internet resources grow and electronic mail becomes more commonplace, pastors will find a growing network of support in this medium. Resources such as Ministry Health, the Ministry Health And Leadership WebRing, or others sites which deal with various aspects of leadership, organizational dynamics, conflict, codependencies, health and wellness, psychological well-being and Christian spirituality will undoubtedly become more numerous. Email gives unique access to individuals and professionals like no other medium. Many noted doctors, consultants, and other ministry professionals are available by email. Of course, striking up an old seminary friendship via email can be an excellent source of sharing and support in difficult times.
5) Keep The Vision Alive. Level IV conflict stalls ministry momentum. It tends to kill vision, too. Keep the vision alive. Keep fanning the flames of what the church is about. Bring in denominational specialists on outreach, vision and ministry directions. Attend and invite others to attend leadership seminars and other discipleship and leadership events. Keeping the vision is essential because, after the flames of conflict burn out, the vision planting and preservation you have done with leaders during the conflict will emerge as the cutting edge of unprecedented congregational renewal. 6) Start Or Expand Home Bible Studies. People in stress study the Bible. Those who had never been in Bible study before may feel a strong need for pastoral and Scriptural support during the trials of Level IV conflict. So will you. It's a positive reaction to self-preserving fusion. The study of Scripture in small home groups can be an excellent time to support each other. In some congregations, Level IV conflict may provide just the opportunity to get those home groups up and running. Publicize these meetings. Don't let these sessions be secret. Don't let them be "gossip centers" either. Antagonists will deride them as the pastor's "CIA" clusters. Publicize the home studies at every public
opportunity possible. Don't give anyone an objective reason or substantiation for their accusations. Personally invite the antagonist(s) to attend. If they refuse (which in most cases they will), you haven't lost anything. If they accept, you've gained an opportunity to have them be influenced by the Word. Let the Word work. Whether in Level IV conflict or not, it's all you have. Use it! 7) Pursue Continuing Education. Whether formal or informal, reading can be wonderful therapy. While educating the reader, reading also gives a welcome diversion. The pain of rejection of Level IV conflict can help individuals discovery the joy of just taking a book, studying it, and learning or getting enjoyment from it. As one writer said, "Books are my best friend." The continuing education experience can vary from taking up a new hobby at the community center or formally registering for university courses...or both. 8) Find Something You Can Control, Enjoy, And Get Self-Affirmation From. In a Level IV environment where everything is out-of-control, leaders may feel lost, alienated, alone and worthless. Hobbies and other activities can help alleviate that feeling. In addition to reading (cf. above), many find that the arts are any excellent way to cope with the feelings of the loss of control at Level IV. Music, painting, acting, crafts, woodworking, writing, poetry, photography, collecting are just some of the possibilities. An unusual phenomenon is that people often find their most relaxing and enjoyable activity is something that they enjoyed in adolescence or in their early adult years but never really developed. If you have difficulty deciding what you might like, that's an excellent place to start. 9) Stay Physically Fit. Trauma causes people to withdraw. It takes up energy. Don't let it. Eat healthily. Get out for walks, but only for as long as you can without brooding. Excessive brooding can reinforce potentially deadly depression. Call members up for lunch (but remember, salads only! Your energy levels may not be able to metabolize multiple lunches!) 10) Never Give Up!!! The end will come in God's time. Of course, that is never soon enough. As each of the dynamics characterizing Level IV conflict subsides, a new era of ministry will begin. Most churches go through chapters every 2-3 years. Level IV conflict begins a whole new book. If God enables you to stay, do so. The rainbow of God's promises of renewal following Level IV conflict is one of the most brilliant you will ever see. Stay the course and anticipate renewal!
Yes, There Is Hope!
Churches can and do recover from Level IV conflict. So do pastors. Unfortunately, too few resources exist which recognize the reality of Level IV conflict. Ministry Health was borne out of the Editor's personal experience of severe Level IV conflict in a congregation which was characterized by several severe Level IV conflicts in its short history. Many of the hundreds of articles deal specifically with the issues and dynamics of the pastoral experience of Level IV conflict. That is one of the unique contributions of Ministry Health. Indeed, it is one of the primary reasons that Ministry Health was written. Ministry Health has numerous articles dealing with items related to Level IV conflict. Articles on dysfunction, antagonists, spiritual transformation, and others dealing with the habitus practicus may be specifically helpful to help hold you up and bring you through Level IV conflict in your church. But don't do it alone. You can't. That's why we have the Lord's promise, "I will never leave you or forsake you." He never will. Once you've been through Level IV conflict, you will know God's power first-hand. You will
witness the amazing power He has for you and for your ministry. Jesus promised to build His church against the gates of hell. Level IV conflict will make a believer of you. He does build His church. You may have to suffer to realize that. But remember, He had to die and rise to make the victory reality. Thomas F. Fischer
What makes a good team leader?
The way a team is led will have a major impact upon the success or otherwise of the team. When asked what they want from a team leader, team members will often identify several values they would want a leader to hold : commitment to people as well as task is the first key element. desire to support and serve the team as well as lead from the front. enthusiasm, energy, inspiration and sufficient expertise. willingness to shoulder responsibility rather than pass the buck ability to make the team come together to achieve more than a group of individuals. (See what makes a good team member) Commitment to people Most team members are primarily concerned about relationship and about being valued as a team member, before they are concerned about the task that the team is to undertake. Feeling secure in a group environment is an important pre-requisite before individual contribtion. The good team leader is able to spend time building the team, not only when the team starts off, but when a newcomer joins an existing team. Desire to Support and Serve Whilst team members want to see the ability to lead from the front, they are also strongly motivated by the ability to lead from the back! Servant leadership from the team leader is vital if team members are in turn, to want to serve each other. This is a particularly key topic for Christian leaders. There is a balance to be struck between a willingness to take on any chores that need to be done by the team, and taking an inappropriate balance of roles so that the leadership is diminished. Enthusiasm, Energy, Inspiration and Expertise Unsurprisingly team members want to be inspired and motivated by team leadership which has the energy and enthusiasm to fire them up. However, they also want to feel secure that the team leader has themselves, or has access to, the necessary expertise to lead the team in the right direction. The leader doesn't have to be the most knowledgeable of the subject at hand, but if they are not, they must encourage the input of others. Willingness to shoulder responsibility. Team leaders are tested under pressure. When challenges arise, as they inevitably will, the leader will need to take responsibility to ensure that they are fixed as far as possible and that the team is strengthened as a result. This does not mean that the leader should admit that issues beyond their control are in any way their fault, (although they should be honest in admitting their mistakes), but rather adopt a proactive stance to ensure the team is not deflected from its course. Ability to achieve more as a team. Teams only become a team once there is some synergy within the group ie the team process adds value to that which a disparate group of individuals would achieve undirected. This is likely to require the team leader to explore leadership models that share the leadership role within the team, to have an understanding of different individuals team roles, strengths and gifts, establish a mutual accountability within the team, and to create a team envioronment which is open, fun and allows healthy and
Jesus Leadership Style
This module is a self-guided bible study, looking at several gospel events, which seek to build our understanding of the way that Jesus exercised servant leadership. Our hope is that by posing some questions to aid reflection, you might get some insights into how Jesus exercised leadership during his ministry.
Before we start...
Firstly, spend a moment reflecting on whether you feel comfortable that Jesus did exercise leadership, by considering the following elements of some common leadership definitions. The concensus of leadership literature suggests that leaders have vision, are individuals who attract followers, are people who share their vision with their followers, and enable the group together to achieve the common goal. Pause for Thought : Now pause for a moment, and take each of the following seven descriptors in turn, and think through to what degree you would associate them with Jesus. (rank each on a 1 to 7 scale, where 1 would be no association at all, and 7 would be a total association.) visionary, strategist, team leader, servant leader, shepherd, trainer, encourager. Now put this piece of paper away - you will return to it later.
Seven Reflections on Jesus' Leadership Style: The Disciples. Taking the list given in Matthew (10:2-4), work through
your knowledge of the 12, writing down for each their skills/experiences, and also their character traits. What would you see as the strengths and weaknesses of choosing this particular team of 12? How does Jesus bond them together into a cohesive team?
Sending out of the 12 and the 72. (Luke 9 to Luke 10:24). Why do
you think Jesus sent the disciples out at this stage of his ministry? What was Jesus' possibly trying to achieve by it? What relevance to the narratives of the feeding of the five thousand and Peter's confession of Christ have to the sending out of the twelve? Why do you think Jesus sent the 72 out in pairs? What might we surmise from Jesus sending out the 12 before sending out the 72?
Jesus the Teacher. Jesus taught throughout the gospels - to the
crowds, to individuals such as Nicodemus, the woman at the well, the rich young ruler, and to the disciples. Following through Luke's gospel, look at each time Jesus was teaching, and jot down the context (individual / disciples / group) and his style (formal / parable / individual discipling). Finally reflect on your own teaching, and the range of contexts and styles that you use.
Clearing the Temple. (John 2 : 12-22) This gospel account suggests that
Jesus' driving out of the money lenders was a pre-meditated action. He went up to the Temple and was appalled at what he found. He then made a whip
from cords and drove the merchants and their cattle from the Temple area, and overturned the tables of the money changers. What does this tell us about Jesus' leadership style. In what situations might we be prepared to adopt a similar approach?
The Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) In walking along with the
Cleopas and his companion, Jesus met them at their point of need, journeyed with them, teaching them as he did so, without them recognising him. Can you think of leadership situations where you might walk alongside others, gently and almost imperceptibly teaching and leading them.
With Pilate (Luke 23:1-25, John 18:28 - 19:16) One of the traits of a leader
is their ability to influence others; by their words, by their actions, and by their character. In what ways does Jesus influence Pilate? What does this have to suggest about the nature of Christian leadership?
The Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-end, Acts 1:1-11) Jesus leaves
his disciples with the commission to spread the good news throughout the world. In this commission, Jesus gives vision (what they will achieve) and strategy (how they should achieve the vision). Re-read the passages, separating out the vision Jesus lays before the disciples and the strategies he urges them to follow. We also see Jesus choosing strategies throughout his ministry, in choosing ordinary people to be his disciples, and in standing outside the established church. Pause for Thought : Now you have reflected on these scripture passages, repeat the initial exercise, and rank the following seven descriptors again. Have any of your scores changed? If so, in what way has your understanding of Jesus' servant leadership changed? Finally, what has surprised you in this exercise? How might this influence your perception of your own leadership?
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