In every leadership team there is always a level of tension. We all have different gifts, passions and ways we think things should be done. Yet God designed it this way so that we would grow in love and humility (Eph 4:2).
Of course, this is true for a 5-fold ministry team, according to Ephesians 4:11. Here is what a simplified conversation might sound like between the five ministers working together to lead a ministry:
Apostle: “We have gathered for our monthly vision and planning meeting. I want to hear what is on your hearts concerning how we can strategically equip and build up the saints God has entrusted to us as we move into this next year.”
Evangelist: “I would like to go first. I have noticed that when we come together as a community, we spend too much time inside the four walls of our building. There are people on their way to hell everyday and it is our responsibility to share the good news with them. The harvest is ripe and it’s time for us to hit the streets and bring the lost into the kingdom.”
Pastor: “I feel as a community we are not ready for this yet. There is still much counselling and inner healing needed among many of the congregants. I feel we should first focus on loving each other, discipling our people and growing as a healthy community.”
Teacher: “Honestly, I’m not sure our people know the bible well enough to be able to communicate the message of the gospel to the lost. We should do a teaching series where we can systematically go through the foundational truths of our faith. Then our people will be rooted in God’s word and be able to effectively give an answer for the hope we have in Yeshua.”
Prophet: “I think you guys are missing the most foundational point here. If our people are not seeking God in regular worship, growing closer to Him in intimacy and learning how to hear His voice in their daily lives, all of this is in vain. If they are not being led by the Holy Spirit and receiving revelation of how to minister to people, how can they be effective?”
At this point in the meeting you may be thinking, “these guys are stuck. Sure, all of these things are important, but how can they advance together with so much disagreement?”
I believe this is where the God given grace and gifting of an apostle comes in. As the team leader his passion is to see everyone functioning in unity. He is able to navigate these tensions by affirming everyone’s unique gifting. Because he sees the big picture he is able to develop a road map for moving forward that will bring everyone’s giftings to the forefront in different times and ways so that the whole body is benefiting and growing.
When tension is felt, the key to moving forward is mutual submission (Eph 5:21) and esteeming others better than oneself (Phil 2:3). When this is the heart attitude of the leadership team, selfish ambition and competition have no place. Don’t let tension repel you, but instead go lower in your service to others. Remember, we are serving on the same team and working for the same goal – “a perfect man” (Eph 4:13).