Building a Team for Breakthrough!

People aren’t your greatest asset, the right people are!

One of the great metaphors for a church or ministry team is a bus. On a bus you have a driver and a whole lot of passengers, with hopefully some key people in the seats closest to the driver. Depending on who you have in the key seats, will determine the trip you take.

Research has shown (Jim Collins – Good to Great) that the first thing you must do before you want to build a team for breakthrough is get the wrong people off the bus, the right people on the bus and the right people in the right seats. Before you work out where you want to go or what you want to achieve, you must focus on who you are going to take the journey with.

Great vision without great people is irrelevant.

Whoever is on your bus should be there because of who is on it, not just where it is going. When you have the right people on the bus, you eliminate the need to constantly micro-manage and drive them to get results. The right people are self-starters and are led, not driven to make things happen.

“We focused year after year on injecting endless stream of talent and building them into the best managers in the industry. That’s how you build the future.” (CEO Dick Cooley, Wells Fargo)

Are you trying to be the genius with a thousand helpers or are you trying to build a team of great strength and depth? A genius leader doesn’t need a team, just a bunch of soldiers that will implement their ideas. The problem is, it’s unsustainable. Don’t settle for being a genius on WHAT to do in ministry. Aim to be a genius in WHO you pick for your team. Great leaders build a team for breakthrough, not a platform for their talents.

Look for the 4 C’s in recruiting people – Character, Chemistry, Competence and Calling. Recruit people to your team, even if you don’t have a vacancy for them as yet. Great people will start to contribute because they are initiator’s. It takes rigorous discipline, not a ruthless dictatorship to build a team for breakthrough. A rigorous team environment is disciplined, whereas, a ruthless dictatorship is ego-centric and fear mongering.

Practice the 3 essential disciplines of a rigorous environment:

  1. When in doubt, keep looking – better to have an unfilled position, then fill it with the wrong person.
  2. When you need to change, act quickly – Don’t delay but be decisive.
  3. Put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems – Your best result on your biggest problem will be average. Your best result on your biggest opportunity could be world-changing.

The human component in bottle-necking church / ministry growth isn’t location, circumstances or marketing but the ability to get and keep enough of the right people. Walter Bruckart was once asked to name the top 5 factors in his companies breakthrough. He responded with, “Factor 1 – right people. Factor 2 – right people. Factor 3 – right people…” You get it!


Despicable Me!

Luke 9:23 “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself.”

I encourage you to see the movie ‘Despicable Me’. Truth is, the only reason I watched it, is because I have three darling kids who wanted to see it. I expected a typical kids movie but what I got was an encounter with Jesus teaching played out on a movie reel.

The story line of the movie is about a man who grows up enjoying being very despicable. He’s a criminal mastermind whose ultimate dream is to steal the moon. For him to do so would mean he’s reached the pinnacle of significance. However, he encounters some stiff competition from someone keen to outdo him and so Mr Despicable encounters three orphans and decides to use them to gain advantage over his competition. Along the journey these three little orphans steal his heart and he starts to soften and prioritize them over his dream of stealing the moon. In fact Mr Despicable gets more than he ever dreamed, he gets a life where he can share love and receive love and his life is never the same. See the movie to fill in the rest of the details.

I think this is a great metaphor for life and ministry. It’s great to have a dream but too easily do we make the pursuit of that dream, call, ministry or life (however you define it) about US. The dream or call may be honorable in and of itself but the subtle shift in our hearts towards ourselves (our success, our image, our reputation, our desires, our needs) can actually be fatal both for us and the dream, let alone others.

As long as your call is about you, you’ve missed the point. In fact, no matter how much energy you expend into making your call happen, the reverse can take effect and it actually starts slipping away from you because you’re misusing the call for the purpose it was given to you in the first place, others.

If you will direct the focus of your call away from you and onto others, your desires and dreams will most probably take care of themselves, or in the case of “Mr Despicable”, your desires will be replaced with God’s desires that are far better for you anyway. Let go, and let God take control of your life. Whether you do or not is a matter of trust. Do you actually trust that God, who called you in the first place, is more than capable of holding your call for you, as well as your dreams and desires?

I encourage you to get on with the business of living for God and living for others without worrying about yourself. Pour yourself out for others and God’s blessing will follow you all the days of your life. The Spirit of the Lord was on Jesus for his ministry to others, not on him ‘just because’. There was a purpose and reason for the anointing being given to him = to heal the broken-hearted, preach good news to the poor, open eyes that are blind and proclaim the year of God’s favor.

The sad truth is you could achieve your dream and ‘steal the moon’ and feel very significant… for a moment… but deep in your heart feel the gnawing ache of emptiness because you have actually forfeited your soul, making your life all about you. Do something weird for a change, actually take Jesus’ words seriously and live by them. I’m trying to and its making all the difference.


The Call is about others!

Don’t make the call about you. God’s call on your life is a blessing from God intended to benefit others. God blesses those who pour themselves out for others (Isaiah 58:10). I’m a big believer in the truth, “If God can get it through you, he can get it to you.”

God doesn’t want us to be a dam or reservoir that contains the blessing but more like a channel and river that passes on the blessing. We are blessed to be a blessing to others. All the gifts and abilities, opportunities and relationships we have are not about us. They are to be stewarded for the benefit of others.

I’ve observed many people live in a state of continual discontentment and want. I think one of the reasons for this is we can get too easily preoccupied with ourselves, and as long as our eyes on ourselves, we will find reasons to be dissatisfied. The moment you get your eyes onto others and start serving them and pouring yourself out for them, you don’t have time to be concerned about what isn’t perfect in your life.

Your call is not about you, it’s about others. I’ve never seen anybody help someone else up in life without being helped up themselves. What you sow is what you reap. God gives grace, favor and influence to individuals for God’s purposes of extending his kingdom in more people’s lives. The more we make our call about us, we are limiting what God wants to do through us to affect change in people. Keep the call pure and keep it focused on Jesus and others and you will be an incredible blessing to others.


Your Call is Bigger than You!

I had the privilege of speaking at Life House Church in Melbourne recently. Right before I was due to speak, the pastor of the Church invited a man by the name of Richard up onto the platform to share a testimony. Initially, I was a little pre-occupied with what I was about to share rather than intently listening to the story being shared. However, as Richard got into his testimony, my ears started to prick up and listen.

Richard shared how 22 years ago he met a young kid who built a close relationship with him. They played baseball together, attended the same school and spent time with each other’s families. This kid invited Richard along to church and even to a ‘Youth for Christ’ rally where this kid’s father was preaching the gospel. That night Richard gave his life to Christ and got saved all because of the influence of this kid and his family.

By this stage of the story I was really intrigued and then absolutely floored when Richard looked at me, in front of the congregation, and said, “That kid was Corey Turner”. I was shocked, speechless and overwhelmed. The truth is I had no idea the impact my relationship with Richard had been in his life. After the congregation cheered and clapped I got up to preach. Talk about a great introduction. The pastor of the church later told me that Richard individually has led many people to Christ by inviting them along to Life House Church.

Your call is bigger than you! So often we look at our call and make it about us but your call is all about others and the purpose that God has for people’s lives. Never take for granted the seeds you sow into other’s lives. One relationship I had 22 years ago is now impacting literally dozens of people’s eternities today. I will never forget the feeling I had when Richard shared this story.

God wants to use you in ways that you can’t even imagine. You need to walk in your call because if you don’t who will? People’s eternities are hanging in the balance and God has given you gifts and calling to affect the destiny of people’s lives.


Spacial Relationships!

God’s call will always require the help of the right people.

People will either hinder your call or help your call. The people you build relationships with aren’t just bodies filling up spaces, they are spirits that influence atmosphere’s. The people you let into your relational spaces are influencing the spiritual atmosphere of your life more than you think. Bad company ruins good character. When the Apostle Paul was writing to the church in Galatia he said, “You were running well, WHO hindered you?” (Gal 5:7). Notice he didn’t say WHAT hindered you but WHO hindered you?

God blesses you through people but Satan can also curse you through people as well. It takes sharp discernment to know the difference. Not every person that enters your life, should you turn your landing lights on for. Unfortunately, I, like many other Christians have believed that we are to have relational space for every person that passes our way because we are supposed to ‘love our neighbour as we love ourselves’ and we are to be accepting of people in whatever form they come in. The biblical mandate to love and honour each other is unchanging, however God did not build you to have relational space for everyone. Your spirit has infinite capacity to connect with God but you do not have infinite capacity to include every passerby in your relational space.

Some people are allies, some are acquaintances, some people are partners in the call God has placed upon you and some are simply ‘no fly-zone’ people. Just as a country has controlled airspace that stops foreign military aircraft from drifting across its borders, we should have some controlled relational space that doesn’t allow unhealthy co-dependent relationships to develop. Never drift into a relationship without thinking, ‘What space in my life will this person occupy?’

Every relationship in your life belongs in a certain space. It’s what I call ‘Spacial Relationships’. Spacial miscalculations could cost you dearly in more ways than you realize. Hello Abraham and Lot!

When God called Abram to leave his family and go to the promised-land, he did not invite Lot to go with Abram but Abram did and it cost both Lot and Abram dearly. Never invite someone on the journey God hasn’t invited to go with you. Conflict arose between Lot’s growing family and Abram’s growing family and they had to part ways. It wasn’t until after Lot left Abram that God spoke to Abram again about his calling. Sometimes it isn’t until certain people leave your life can God speak what he needs to because God’s fresh revelation might be polluted by the influence of uninvited people. When God declared his intention of destroying Lot’s place of residence, Abram felt responsibility to rescue Lot. Whatever relationship you author, you have to perfect, but whatever relationship God authors, God’s spirit helps perfect. As Lot and his wife flee the town that is now burning sulfur, Lot’s wife looked back and became a pillar of salt. A Hefty price to pay for a spacial miscalculation.

Take responsibility for your relational space and look for kingdom connections. God’s got a global dot to dot plan and if we tune into his call, He will partner us up with the people He wants us to be in relationship with.