“Foster this attitude among your leaders: ‘How can I help my fellow leaders, even though it’s not my ministry?’”
Patrick Lencioni brought the concept of silos into the leadership conversation with his great book Silos, Politics, and Turf Wars. Silos occur in churches when leaders act like their ministry or team is the only one that matters.
A silo attitude results in that leader or team only supporting, giving or attending functions that pertain to them. It can be kill a ministry and result in many problems.
What problems do ministry silos cause? Here are a few.
- Unhealthy competition
- Hurt feelings
- Lack of trust
- Fighting over limited resources
- Foot dragging
So how can a leader minimize ministry silos? Below, I suggest a key foundation and then five pillars to build on that foundation to rid your ministry of silos.
If you want to change your culture to minimize and remove silos, build from the bottom up. Build a solid foundation on the biblical concept of unity. Teach and train your leaders often about unity, remembering that unity does not mean uniformity. God gives each of us unique gifts and abilities, which creates a healthy church. Keep these and other Scriptures in front of your leaders.
How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! (Ps. 133:1)
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus. (Rom. 15:5)
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Eph. 4:3)
I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. (1 Cor. 1:10)
Next, place these five pillars on that unity foundation.
1. Make sure you have a clear, shared vision.
Keep your church’s mission, vision and values before your leaders. If you’re fuzzy on mission, vision and values, I recommend Will Mancini’s book Church Unique.
2. Build trust between all your leaders.
When leaders trust each other, it increases the trust neurotransmitter, oxytocin, which builds camaraderie. Studies show that the more people trust each other, the more they will cooperate.
3. Encourage your leaders to talk to each other.
Schedule consistent leadership meetings so that leaders can hear each other’s stories and needs. Start a leadership e-newsletter and send it to every leader. The more in common leaders share with other leaders, the more productive and motivated they’ll be.
4. Remind leaders that it’s not all about them.
Remind them that they are part of a larger purpose and that great teams look out for each other. Foster this attitude among your leaders: “How can I help my fellow leaders, even though it’s not my ministry?”
5. Teach leaders to step inside each other’s shoes.
When we see life from another’s perspective, we are more giving and more likely to help. It’s a concept called mentalizing.
How have you dealt with ministry silos in your church?