The Cult of Personality: Saving Your Team from Yourself

While we are leading a team, it’s tempting to think we’ll always be leading it, but the truth is someday the Lord will move us on to the next assignment. On that day, we leave something behind. Will it be a legacy that can be built upon?

The Cult of Personality: Saving Your Team from Yourself
Volunteers prepare for the start of service with a few final adjustments, as Crossroads Community Church Media Director Adrian Gates offers advice.

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Gates WFX 2017

Adrian was a speaker at WFX this year in Dallas. For 2018, the conference is slated for Orlando in November. We hope to see you there.

History is the story of leaders of the past.

Legacy is what they leave behind, for those who are still alive.

While we are leading a team, it’s tempting to think we’ll always be leading it, but the truth is someday the Lord will move us on to the next assignment. On that day, we leave something behind: Either a story of “how we used to do it” or a legacy that can be built upon.

“Before people believe in Jesus, they have to believe in you.”

Leadership has a difficult line to walk. We need to inspire our teams and build actual relationships with the people who follow us. Generally, this means they have to like us at least a little bit.

We ask a lot of our volunteers, especially in the tech departments. What we ask sometimes requires that they work long hours, come in early before most of the church is out of bed, or tolerate the occasional disgruntled musician.

Before they can connect to a vision of our ministry, most people will connect to us personally. They are willing to put in those long hours, because we are shoulder-to-shoulder with them every step of the way. We’re willing to face the wrath of that upset musician to protect them. We’re like their big brother or sister, providing a role model for them to look up to.

Trouble comes when that personal relationship is all that is sustaining the volunteer in your ministry. To a certain extent, I think it’s important to be a friend to every team member under you.

As a leader, though, we need to guide them beyond friendship for the good of the team.

If you’ve been in ministry for a while, it’s probably not too hard to think of a team that was built around one strong, charismatic leader. He or she was the sort of person people loved spending time with; funny, compassionate, wise. The people they led became very excited about the team under their command. They called their friends to get involved, and numbers grew.

But then one day, the leader left.

Without that charismatic smile at the front of the crowd, something felt a little off.

Some people maybe suddenly found that the work wasn’t as fulfilling or not as much fun. They aren’t quite sure what changed, but they know it was better before Brother or Sister So-and-So left.

More About Adrian Gates
Adrian Gates is the Media Director for Crossroads Community Church in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. In his 16 years as a media professional, Adrian has served many different roles, including music producer, web master, videographer, consultant, social media “expert,” sound guy, lighting guy, stage hand, and roadie. His clients have included some of the largest tech companies in the world, New England churches looking to modernize, and dedicated weekend warriors. Adrian is a graduate of the New England Institute of Art and Communications.
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Worship Facilities Magazine, March-April 2018
The March-April 2018 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers articles about how to prepare, prevent and respond to church violence, a look into what church management software can do for your church community, and a piece on how a once popular nightclub venue was transitioned to become Shoreline Church's new home.

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