Zondervan has been offering tons of different titles to be reviewed and put up on a blog tour this summer. I’ve tried to take advantage of them as often as I can and this book is one of the books that was to be reviewed.
Having read Sticky Church by Larry Osborne, I was enticed by the opportunity to read Sticky Teams as well. I loved Sticky Church and all of the great applications Larry brought to any church context, I assumed Sticky Teams would be the same and for the most part it was.
Larry skillfully went through several things that rip up teams and cause disunity within the church. He brings 20+ years of experience to the plate and is very vulnerable about his own failures when it comes to teams.
Not being a senior pastor, this book was a bit more difficult for me to apply in my current context as one of five on a Youth Ministry staff but it was still worth the read because it gave me insight as to what really goes on in the upper echelon of the church political scheme.
Several of Larry’s insights were gleaned as the church he pastored grew, so this book is extremely helpful to anyone who finds themselves in an up and coming church. This however does not negate anyone in a stagnant church or a declining church because the insights he brings can help teams see why in fact those negative trends are happening within their walls and Larry would argue that its most likely due to some type of disunity (or laziness on the pastors side).
Many common landmines are discussed in this book (again many of them are more geared towards those in senior or executive ministry but are applicable to all staff) Which are very practical. Below is a quick overview of those landmines.
“Why Boards God Bad”- which discusses how meetings and setting can negatively effect how a board reacts and thinks.
“Guarding the Gate”- which takes on the tough topic of hiring well and how to guard against getting a bad fit on the board and on the staff.
“How Growth Changes Everything”- which is pretty self-explanatory but it takes an in depth look at what growth changes and how to go about moving with change rather than thinking the same old thing will work even when the world around you changes.
“Six Things Every Leadership Team Need to Know”- This brings up 6 very seemingly inconsistent (with modern ideas anyways) things that every leadership team really does need to know. This chapter was amazing and will be useful for any pastor in any situation!
“Clarifying the Pastor’s Role”- This was far and away my favorite chapter of the entire book. It hits the nail on the head as to who the pastor is and what he should be about. I think it was my favorite chapter because it challenged me to think differently. In the past I’m not too sure I’ve had the greatest examples of senior leadership (now is a different story) and so I myself was confused as to what the senior pastor should be about. My favorite portion was on page 95 where Larry lists out 3 things pastors should do in order to keep themselves in check: 1. Present first drafts, not final proposals; 2. Keep no secrets from the board and 3. Follow the board’s advice. Oddly enough, these three pieces of advice are often not heeded.
“Clarifying Board and Staff Roles”- This was another good chapter for me to see kind of where I fit as a staff member and what my role should be within my context.
“Making Room at the Top: Why Young Eagles Don’t Stay”- I am a young eagle, so it was cool to see someone advocating for my generation. It also showed me how in my own context, I need to be making room for student leaders to begin taking some responsibility when it comes to youth group and church. I always have shrugged this idea off somewhat due to the age of the teens I work with…but it is key to have some students, no matter their age involved in some form of leadership.
All of that amazing content is just the first section of the book! There are two more sections: Equipped for Ministry: Getting Everyone on the Same Page; and Communication: Keeping Everyone on the Same Page.
All three sections are helpful, useful and insightful yet as you can see by what I highlighted, the first section is what hit me the strongest. The last two sections were the more “Senior leadership” focused portions, that like I said gave me insight but not much useful help for the now (since I’m not in senior leadership).
The book was a good read; I highly recommend it to Senior Leaders and board members alike because I feel that it will have a good impact on them and will enlighten some things that may have not been enlightened otherwise.