I work with churches.  Some of the churches I work with are huge and led by very capable, talented, powerful leaders.  I know we say we don’t like it when a situation grows around the personality of the key leader but sometimes it does.  And the key leader gains both momentum and vulnerability as the situation grows larger.

I advocate for the presence of strong middle leadership in a church of a larger size.

The pastor (staff) are usually quite strong and powerful.  Interestingly the gathered church (congregation) can also be quite strong and powerful.  What happens when you get two strong and powerful entities in the same room?   Hmmm, it rhymes with “bension” and starts with “t”.  You got it–tension.  When a couple dances only one can lead.  I’ve seen it happen a lot.  And I’ve seen the key leader (pastor) become a target for every unresolved issue in either the congregation at large of a group of congregants.  They have to point their arrows at him because he has a bullseye on his back.

But I suggest to you that the middle leadership group has a responsibility to function as the cartilege in the middle.  It has the responsibility of being the strong core muscles in the midst of two other strong muscle groups.

It needs to be able to interpret the crowd.  It needs to be able to understand and believe in the leader.  It needs to defend the one from the other.  When arrows start to fly they need to encircle the strong leader and protect from undue harm.  But then they need the skill to meet quietly afterwards and discuss what just happened there.

It’s no easy job.  But we need them.  Call them “the board”.  Call them “elders”.  Call them “overseers”  Call them “council” but we sure need them.