When CoLeaders Disagree

“Who makes the call if you two don’t agree?”

It’s a good question. Leading together creates the opportunity for conflicting ideas on how to move forward. 

Here’s what it looks like at Sun City Church:

A team of overseers and elders comes together for significant decisions. They approve the budget, salaries, changes to the structure or direction of the church, and financial purchases above a certain amount.

A team of pastoral directors led by the CoLead pastors meets weekly to lead the church body. They decide how to navigate pastoral concerns, what outreach opportunities the church should be involved with, and how to equip the people for the work of the ministry. 

The Organizational Chart reflects the gifting and calling of the lead pastors. There is clarity on who oversees what areas of the ministry. To keep those areas from becoming silos, the CoLead pastors meet weekly to consult each other and add input into the individual lanes.

If Danny and I disagree about something, the first question is, “Who is the person that oversees this?” While we honor each other’s perspective and voice in every church area, we also value the lead role that each of us plays in different areas. When our team experiences the two of us honoring one another’s leadership, they are encouraged to do the same in their roles.

Here are a few lessons that have helped us along the way in dealing with conflict:

1. Recognize that disagreement can add perspective

It helps to have both eyes for depth perception. If only one eye functions, you can still see, but you’re missing the nuances that help you be the most effective. It’s like trying to shoot a basketball without being able to tell how far away the hoop is. The two of you, together, add depth to decisions for the church.

2. Planning ahead is essential for team ministry

One of the arguments for a single person making the final decisions is the speed of the organization. Trying to add depth perception last minute can seem like an unnecessary delay, but the quality of ministry it creates is worth planning for in advance. If a decision needs to take place last minute, it should lead to a system for the future. The further out we get on planning, the better we include the perspective we need to make great decisions. 

3. Make sure the right people are in the right spot

The more you understand your strengths, the better you know when to defer leadership and when to contribute your voice. It doesn’t make you a bad leader to recognize that other people on the team bring perspective and gifts that you don’t have; it makes you a great leader! Don’t fall into the trap of believing you need to be a part of every decision. Know where you add the greatest strength to the team but then let the team function. 

To go on a journey of discovering your unique leadership gifting and callings, join us for a CoLead Cohort.

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