Two Heads Are Really Better Than One: Tips for Co-Leading, By Danely Jimenez
All of us have a desire to see the Gospel of grace transform the lives of everyone who attends our microchurch. In fact, at the end of the day, it’s Christ’s love that compels us to do what we do and we gladly and intentionally invest time in preparation and prayer for the men and women who come to our microchurch. For those of you who may be co-leading, are you desiring the same for your co-leader or has investing time together become more of a “business relationship” in preparation for microchurch? We are going to take a look at some tips and some things to consider when it comes to co-leading in order to maximize the benefits of this co-leadership relationship. And for those who are not currently co-leading, please don’t tune out because the Kingdom of God is not for the soloist. Hopefully in some way you are sharing the platform, as we always want to be empowering and raising apprentices to not only lead with us, but surpass us!
After I started leading my own microchurch, as independent as I may think I am, I quickly recognized the importance of developing others to lead with me. I began to embrace our differences and appreciate other leading styles and gifts. This however, meant letting go of doing things my way to find value in diversity.
Here are 10 tips when it comes to building a successful co-leadership partnership:
If you aren’t already, make time to pray for each other regularly. We can sometimes find ourselves praying for all those that we are leading, and can forget that of all the people in your mc, you have the greatest impact on your co-leader. Cover your co-leader daily in prayer.
- Build your relationship
If the only time you connect with your microchurch leader is to discuss plans for microchurch, you are not embracing the Gospel and the purpose for microchurch. Jesus was all about relationship. Take time to get to know one another. Affirm, encourage, and build each other up just as you would do with your microchurch. As you build this relationship first, then times when you meet to plan and prepare for microchurch will be more rich and enjoyable. When I started co-leading with my current co-leader, to my embarrassment, I actually didn’t know very much about her because all we ever did was talk about microchurch. Though this filled our tanks very much, I had to be intentional to make time to do things just for fun that did not involve microchurch planning.
Not to be cliche, but most disagreements and frustrations can progress due to the lack of or poor communication. Don’t give the enemy a foothold when he is already out to steal, kill, and destroy your microchurch and your relationship. Create safe and open lines of communication. Touch base before the microchurch and debrief afterwards so that you discuss clear goals and expectations, and if necessary tailor things that need to shift.
- Honor each other’s time
While you still want to make time to build the relationship and also plan together for the microchurch, make sure you do so in a way that works for the both of you, time-wise. Sometimes it’s easier to talk things out over the phone, text or email. Other times sitting down to meet together is necessary. Find out what is doable and manageable for both of you.
- Recognize each other’s strengths and weaknesses
It is imperative as you communicate and build the relationship that you address and recognize your own and the other person’s strengths and weaknesses. What are their passions and gifts? How is their leading style different than yours? Is one of you more type A? And in knowing this, how can you work together to serve each other better and those in your microchurch? If one of you is better with the administration, let that person flow in their gift. Flow in your gift and find ways to supplement your weaknesses, which is someone else’s strength.
- Same vision but delegated responsibilities
It’s important that you are on the same page when it comes to vision and purpose, and from this common vision you can delegate tasks to see the vision unfold. Go through a detailed process of deciding who will be responsible for the various tasks pertaining to microchurch. Remember, this does not mean that the load needs to be divided 50/50, but rather what is going to work for you guys as a team.
- Regularly re-evaluate your goals and responsibilities
There was a season when I was leading microchurch and my co-leader was simply responsible for following up with the men in his tiny group. I was at a place where I was able to plan the lessons, teachings, etc… and it worked great for us! But then there were other seasons when I traveled extensively and I made sure to equip my co-leader and other apprentices with tasks that they were not always accustomed to doing. Eventually as you prepare for multiplication, you want to be able to delegate all of the responsibilities. (2 Tim 2:2) Be open to change and talk through them. What may have worked before, may not be working for the new season you are in.
- Learn from each other
Rather than dismissing or getting annoyed at each other’s differences, ask for a teachable heart so that you can not only embrace one another’s differences but also learn from each other. Most of us can get accustomed to doing something the same way because of familiarity. You’ll be surprised at new ideas and strategies you can develop together, or even reassess why you do some of the things you do. And remember encouragement goes a long way. The best encouragements are those that are specific, so go out of your way to build and encourage your co-leader when you’ve observed them do something well.
- Extend Grace
We must remember that we are all flawed and in need of God’s grace, and this grace needs to be extended to those with whom we serve and lead. Be quick to forgive and talk things out. Co-leading requires flexibility. You are working with someone who is different from you, and this is a good thing! When things get dropped, even if you were not directly involved, as a leader be the first to admit and own up to the situation and cover your co-leader. Afterwards you can discuss the situation at a more appropriate time. And on the flip side, when people give you praise for the group, be the first to re-allocate praises to your co-leader and recognize them. Remember you are a team!
- Why are we here?
At the end of the day having that clear vision and purpose makes it all worthwhile. Write the vision down and make it clear to see. Pray through it regularly and pursue unity! How amazing it is when brothers dwell together in unity!
Take some time to discuss some of these points with your co-leader and other thoughts you may have to see how you can further maximize the opportunity you have to lead together!