Sticky Teams by Larry Osborne is one of the most practical and insightful books I’ve read in over two decades. It’s one of those books when you put it down you say “I wish I had written that.’ So I want to spend some time telling you why I think this is such a powerful book.
First, let me tell you who ought to read this book.
• New pastors just starting out- you might as well get things right at the beginning.
• Pastors already in the field who realize that the way their church functions isn’t cutting it.
• Pastors who are fed up with fighting with their Board.
• Pastors who are having trouble leading their staff.
Now, that list covers a multitude of sin, doesn’t it?
When I first read this book, I could not believe how simple, yet profound, it was. In less than 200 pages he shares the secrets of making staff and Boards function in harmony. Now that is close to a miracle.
Take a look at what makes this book so special.
Osborne shares his wisdom, gained over twenty years, about how to achieve unity with the Board, Staff, and congregation.
How to Achieve a Healthy, Unified, and Aligned Board
His insight on how the function of a Board changes as the church grows is worth the price of the book. In a small church the Board functions as doers- he call it “All hands on deck.” Board members are involved intimately in the day to day affairs of the church. As the church grows, the Board approves all ministry before it happens. As the church get larger, the Board reviews ministry after it happens. When the church becomes large the Board sets direction and boundaries. Understanding how the function of the Board changes as a result of growth can save a lot of heartache and bring about a healthy unified Board.
He offers a suggestion that mirrors closely the one Dave Travis and I offered in our book, Beyond the Box. He suggests having two Board meetings a month. One meeting is for business and one is for team building, training, and prayer. His argument is that you must spend time with Board in order for them to be a unified part of the team and for them to be prepared to act when called upon. He suggests it is never good to meet with a Board only when you need them to approve something.
How to Achieve a Healthy, Unified, and Aligned Staff
Growth also changes the way staff function. In a small church staff function more as generalist since there isn’t much staff. As the church grows, staff function more as specialists since there are more staff. When more growth the staff ceases being “doers” and begins to hand off ministry and empowers others to do ministry. The larger the church grows and the more staff a church has the more important it is that staff functions on behalf of the entire church rather than their ministry silo.
When it comes to staff alignment Osborne suggests using ministry “plumb lines.” Some might call these “core values.” The point is there needs to be a short list of values embedded in every staff person so they are all on the same page. He then shares a few of his. Values are different from expectations. Everyone on the staff should know both.
How to Achieve a Healthy, Unified Congregation
Osborne shares five things that lead to congregational unity.
• A clear and simple mission statement
• A Pastors Class before joining
• Through consistent preaching
• Sermon-based small groups
• short and sweet congregational meetings
There is so much more crammed into this book. You just have to read it for yourself.