Leaders who are effective in the long run have a set of enduring values that guide them. Values are important in all areas of leadership, but perhaps are most important in the way leaders utilize the people who follow them. There should be two values that you hold in balance when it comes to utilizing people to accomplish the vision God has given you.
The first is the value of appreciating, encouraging, and developing the people who follow you. Staff and especially volunteers usually won’t continue to follow if you don’t provide supportive leadership. The second value involves the results the people who follow you produce. You are responsible for holding them accountable for the work you have given them to do. Both of these values are important.
Unfortunately most of us have a tendency to place one of these values higher than the other. Some place a higher value on maintaining people. Others tend to emphasize results and getting the task completed. Because church planting is so results oriented, it’s not unusual for planters to overemphasize the task and neglect the people.
Paul was famous for this. When John Mark did not complete Paul and Barnabas’ first missionary expedition but instead returned home, Paul wouldn’t take John on his second trip (Acts 15:38). Incidentally, Barnabas displayed a people orientation when he decided to part ways with Paul and took John along with him. Paul, however, didn’t remain a results oriented taskmaster his entire life. He grew. Sure, he continued to work hard for results, but he also learned to take time to care for the people who followed him along the way. In fact, at the end of his life, Paul wrote to Timothy asking that he bring John Mark with him “because he is helpful to me in my ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11). Paul, the task oriented leader, had balanced his emphasis on results by taking care of people including someone who had disappointed him, John Mark.
An emphasis on task may be necessary and even work for short seasons but, in the long run, leaders have to balance the results and people values. Both values are interdependent. You can’t really take care of your people and help them to grow if you don’t hold them accountable for results.
Similarly, you can’t get sustainable results if you don’t take care of your people. Both matter if you’re going to lead a healthy church.