If I Was Starting Today: Part 5

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(This is part 5 of a 7 part series.  You can read part 1 right here)

If I knew then what I know now, I’d work smarter to get the right people in the right seats…on the bus. What do I mean?   One of the most important principles from Jim Collins’ Good to Great is “First Who, Then Where.”  What he is saying is that getting the right people on the bus (his metaphor for building a winning team) is more important than even developing a vision for where you’re going.  No doubt you’ve heard the phrase, “getting the right people on the bus.” It’s become a very common expression and most people get the basic idea right away. But Collins takes it one step further, and this step is often missed in application.  He goes on to say that once you’ve got the right people on the bus you’ve got to get them in the right seat on the bus. Short of that, you’re not really going to have the impact that you want to have.

Where does this have application for all of us?  The right people are often already on the bus.  They’re serving in some capacity.  They’re involved.  But many times they’re really not serving in the area where they can have the greatest impact.  They got recruited to a ministry…that was urgently in need of a body…and no one ever repositioned them to the role where they could make the greatest difference.

This is both a glaring problem and massive opportunity for many, many churches.

If you want your small group ministry to have impact, you’ve got to have key players, the right players.   It may require repositioning some key players from one seat on the bus to another.  Is that a problem-free solution?  No.  Will it ruffle feathers?  Yes.  Will you need your Senior Pastor’s help?  Probably.  Is it worth the effort?  Absolutely.  If you’re convinced that small groups are the optimum environment for life-change, and if life-change is the ingredient that drives impact on the community, then getting the right people into the right seats on the bus is essential.

This is part 5 of a 7 part series.  You can read part 6 right here.

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  1. Jason Braun on May 14, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Your thoughts in this post caught me in the middle of a conversation I’m having with a fellow group member. As a small groups pastor, I sometimes feel that my presence in a group is inhibiting. It is funny because my present group denies that this is true, but I see our group stalled out because of me. Potential leaders don’t want to lead and group ownership wanes because as they say, “Who is going to follow in the steps of the man who lives and breathes grouplife?” Our group loves being a group but I fear that my presence is limiting true transformation to occur. As you wrote, I am trying to navigate whether I need to get off the bus or if we simply need to all find a different seat on the same bus. This is difficult water to tread when you are dealing with friends you love but ultimately you need to ask what is most important: a comfortable social group or a group that is being stretched in their relationship with Christ. Thanks for your thoughts…may we all seek to humbly step aside, let Jesus drive the bus and discover which seat is best suited for us to sit in.

  2. Mark Howell on May 15, 2008 at 7:39 am

    Jason! Thanks for sharing what’s going on in your own world! One of the ideas that drive #5 is that no one can give you a higher return than the “return potential” of the role they’re in. What I mean is that some roles are important (think 3rd grade boys Sunday School class), but if you’ve got a “hundred-fold” person in that role and NOT in another role developing leaders of leaders…well, I think you can see where I’m going.
    How does that apply to you? Couple thoughts: First, your presence there MAY be preventing someone else from realizing their greatest potential. Second, although you need community yourself, your personal involvement MAY be better suited investing in your coaches (do that as couples and your spouses are better off too).
    Thanks for jumping into the conversation!