ad·van·tage  /(ăd-văn’tĭj)
Noun – A condition or circumstance that puts one in a favorable or superior position.
Verb – Put in a favorable or more favorable position.
Since January, the staff has been working through Patrick Lencioni’s book The Advantage. While the book is written to help business leaders understand the importance of organizational health, we have found Lencioni’s “Four Discipline Model” useful in helping us evaluate the organizational health of American Reformed Church.
Lencioni would suggest the first discipline in creating an advantage in a business or ministry is to “build a cohesive leadership team”. He writes, “An organization simply cannot be healthy if the people who are chartered with running it are not behaviorally cohesive in five fundamental ways. In any kind of an organization, from a corporation to a department within that corporation, from a small entrepreneurial company to a church, or a school, or a family, dysfunction and lack of cohesion within the leadership will inevitably lead to lack of health throughout.”
So first, what defines a leadership team? A leadership team is a small group of people who are collectively responsible for achieving a common objective for their organization.
And then second, what are the five fundamental behaviors of creating a “cohesive” leadership team? Lencioni lists the five behaviors as building trust, mastering conflict, achieving commitment, embracing accountability, and focusing on results.
Now, when reflecting on the information so far, I think you would have to agree that Lencioni’s insights are also biblical. The Old Testament is full of stories that prove if the leadership wasn’t healthy, then the rest of the nation wasn’t healthy. The story of Gideon and the Israelites in Judges 6 is just one example.
And when thinking of the definition of a leadership team, doesn’t it remind you of Jesus and his twelve disciples—a small group commissioned to achieve a common objective.
And how about the five behaviors of a cohesive team; think about Jesus’ challenge of building trust within his team. Someone always seemed to be contending for a higher position. And was not Jesus the master in conflict resolution within his group of disciples.
And did not Jesus often address the level of commitment. In Luke 14:28 Jesus said, “…those of you who do not give up everything cannot be my disciple.” And again when fighting for higher positions, Jesus held them accountable by reminding them in Mark 10, The Gentile leaders ruled over the people with a heavy hand, “But not so with you. Instead whoever wants to be great among you must be a servant.” And then finally, relationships were vitally important to Jesus, but he also was concerned about the results. Often times he would get away with the disciples to reflect on the fruit of their ministry.
I’d like to close by saying thank you for the opportunity to be part of the leadership team of this ministry. I feel so blessed to be part of a cohesive staff that reflects such a great servant attitude. And I am grateful to partner with a Consistory that truly desires to be spiritually healthy so as to help each member of the body to function in unity.
Building a cohesive team is vitally important if we are going to have an advantage in reaching our full kingdom potential. And the best news of all, the fact that God so loved us that he sent his son, Jesus, to pay our sin debt in order to restore our favored position with God. And then also, that Jesus asked his Father to send his Holy Spirit to be with us and to live in us gives the best advantage possible of fulfilling the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
May God’s grace enable us to walk by the Spirit, fully enjoying our favorable status as God’s adopted sons and daughters through our faith in Christ.     Growing for God’s glory,  Mike

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