Ten Characteristics of a Mature Leadership Team

coaching Development




Doing ministry as a team requires that the “Primus” Leader including every member of the team do two things: First, one must let go of the things that attempt to control himself or herself because in not confronting these internal issues one will overcompensate by over-performing and not allowing others on the team to contribute the best of who they are as they work together for a common purpose. Second, one must let go of those things that drive you to control because in not confronting this any member of the team will become adversarial with other members when it comes to healthy debate. Not dealing with these dynamics is what makes most teams in churches function more like groups.

referee throwing a flag


Thus, in the words of my mentor Dr. Roger Heuser, “a group becomes a team when individual charisms compliment others toward a compelling purpose, a goal, and the means to achieve the goal – and when team members provide support for one another and hold one another accountable.” [1] Many local church pastors become exhausted because in developing more groups than teams it forces that the Lead Pastor or team leader become more like a referee burning most of their energy in mediating conflict.

What has assisted me in developing a healthy team culture is to identify and give clear definition to what constitutes a mature team.

A mature team has:

  1. A clear understanding of its purposes and goals.
  2. A flexibility in selecting its procedures as it works toward its goals.
  3. An ability to initiate and carry on effective decision making.
  4. An appropriate balance between group productivity and the satisfaction of personal needs.
  5. A High degree of communication and understanding among its members
  6. A leader that does not dominate, nor do any of the members; yet a leader’s primary role is servant-leadership.
  7. A high degree of cohesiveness (oneness) but not to the point of stifling individual freedom.
  8. An intelligent use of its deferring abilities and gifting.
  9. A capacity to be objective about reviewing its own process and progress.
  10. A heightened level of spiritual authenticity, humility, and vulnerability.

When the Lead Ministry or Leadership Team of a church or organization does team in this fashion it creates a culture.  In my previous leadership assignment as a Campus Pastor we created a culture that had the following behaviors that flowed out of a relational principle that helped us stay on mission (See Chart Below).

Culture of Affirmation Expectation and Honor

These ten characteristics will emancipate members of your team to perform with a higher degree of personal responsibility as to how their thinking and behavior not only impacts the team that they serve on, but also, they will behave in a way that they are consciously aware of how their thinking and behavior impacts the entire church and organization. The Lead pastor and/or “Primus” leader will no longer function like a referee but more like a coach as conflict is processed at the team level which will further equip people to grow and mature.


[1] (Shawchuck 2010)


Shawchuck, Roger Heuser and Norman. 2010. Leading The Congregation. Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon Press.

About PastorAl

Al Soto has been married to his incredible wife Valerie for 30 years and they have five sons and one grandson. Al has been in Local Church Ministry for 35 years as both as a Lead Pastor, Associate Pastor, and for five years as a Regional Overseer for his denomination. He has a BA degree from LIFE Pacific College and is currently completing an MA in Leadership & Spiritual Formation from Vanguard University. He currently resides in Lincoln, CA where he is the new Lead Pastor for one of the Campus locations for Bayside Church. He continues to coach High School Football for the Lincoln Fighting Zebras for the Junior Varsity Program and is facilitating Leadership training and coaching as well as facilitating Spiritual Retreats. His hobbies include Golfing and Scuba Diving as well as he is a veracious reader. His Life Statement is “Real Success is Helping others to Succeed!”
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