Church Senior Leadership Team Study

A Collaborative Research Project By:

What?

An extensive research study seeking to:

  1. Describe the composition and communication practices of church senior leadership teams, as well as the contextual factors affecting them.
  2. Identify and learn about the communication practices of a handful of healthy, effective church senior leadership teams.
  3. Identify meaningful differences among effective vs. non-effective teams, as well as the specific team composition, communication, and contextual variables that correlate with and/or contribute to team effectiveness.
  4. Share findings on the above issues with the academic and church leadership communities.

Who?

Dr. Warren Bird at the Leadership Network and Dr. Ryan T. Hartwig at Azusa Pacific University

When?

Stage 1 – March – September 2012:  Over 130 church leadership teams participated in the study, and were provided with a free, robust assessment of their team performance.  These churches received a:

Team Assessment Report rating their team on the 3 essential and 3 enabling conditions of leadership teameffectiveness, as explained in the book, Senior Leadership Teams: What It Takes to Make them Great. This assessment is based on the Team Diagnostic Survey developed by Harvard Researchers and Hay Group consultants, normally only offered to corporate senior leadership teams through a consulting arrangement with the Hay Group. Click here to see a sample report.

Customized Action Steps Report with practical, actionable tips that could be implemented right away to enhance a team’s effectiveness, based on the team assessment and comparison to other senior leadership teams at similar sized and typed churches.

Stage 2 – December 2012:  We released a FREE report entitled Searching for Strong Senior Leadership Teams: What 145 Church Teams Told UsThis descriptive comparison report of church leadership team membership, communication practices, and effectiveness ratings allows church leaders to compare their teams to others.

Stage 3 – January – February 2013: Nearly 100 church leadership teams participated in the study, and were provided with a free, robust assessment of their team performance.  These churches received the Team Assessment Report (click here to see a sample report).

Stage 4 – March – December 2013: We will release additional reports on what differentiates effective leadership teams from others, as well as the specific team composition, communication, and contextual variables that correlate with and/or contribute to team effectiveness.  In addition, we will study in more depth some of the teams identified as most effective to paint a more nuanced picture of their communication practices, and provide exemplars of effective team practices.

If you missed out on the assessment, but would like to receive information about future study on senior leadership teams, please join my email list

Why?

Most churches today have moved to a senior leadership team model but few know how to help their team work better, healthier, or more effectively. Great senior leadership teams have the potential to bolster a church’s health and growth while taking pressure off the senior pastor and spreading leadership functions among several staff members. When these teams work great, they facilitate:

    • Vision alignment
    • Quality decision-making
    • Increased innovation
    • Leadership development
    • Team members who feel involved, valued, committed, and joyful
    • Enhanced opportunity and productivity
    • Tearing down silos among ministry departments, units, and campuses
    • Personal and numerical growth

However, when they don’t, these teams often experience great frustration because decision making takes longer, unresolved conflicts degenerate into long-lasting feuds, meetings are inefficient, etc. This study seeks to discover what makes church senior leadership teams great, and help them become more healthy and more effective as they diligently work to build Christ’s Kingdom. 

How Can I Learn More?

If you’d like to learn about findings from this study as they become available, please subscribe to receive updates.  I will post all updates, findings, and reports from this study on this website first.  In addition, I will share snippets of data regularly - sign up to receive those updates. If you have general questions about the study, please contact leadteamstudy@apu.edu.