Way back in my first few weeks at the Summit – during the season where all of us were trying to figure out what a Connections Pastor does – Pastor J.D. made the following statement that I’ve never forgotten:
I’m going to give you lots of opinions and lots of ideas on the way you develop things in this ministry. I’ll be very clear when the opinions and ideas are directives. But if it’s just an opinion, you’re free to take it or leave it.
I’ve adopted and adapted that statement through the years when it comes to the folks on my team. I want them to know the difference between rules and tools.
Rules are the non-negotiables of the job: the vision, the mission, the strategies, the systems that are required to make things flow from team to team and campus to campus. Rules are going to involve things like the way we train our volunteers, the curriculum we use for new members’ classes, and the processes we use to follow up with guests.
Tools are the resources we provide and collaborate on to get the job done. They represent the nuanced executions of the vision at a campus level. Tools are negotiable but should also be transferable. While rules generally move from top down, tools generally are birthed on the frontline and move up to the central ministry and out to other campuses.
If you’re a ministry leader, you need to communicate the rules and the tools to your team. A great team member will be able to interpret the difference between the two, but a great leader will be clear enough, they won’t have to.