by: John Laster 

We’ve looked at leadership systems and role clarity.  Now, you need to make sure that your leadership team’s size corresponds with your intended outcomes. If the defined role of your leadership team is prayer support of the people and ministry initiatives in the congregation, it is possible for your leadership group to be fairly large. Fifteen or more people would certainly be viable if the group was meeting quarterly, monthly, or weekly to pray.

If the functional role of your team is discerning spiritual and missional destinations for your congregation and/or establishing boundaries and/or caring for hurting people, it’s also possible for this group to be fairly large. Fifteen or more people would certainly be a viable size group for these roles.

On the other hand, if your leadership team has a functional role that involves executing operational management decisions, the day-to-day navigation towards an identified destination, the group’s size needs to be limited to a maximum of nine individuals.   Actually, the ideal size for a decision-making group is five. With each additional person, the group dynamics become increasingly “squirrelly.”   If you find yourself with more than nine individuals, and you are trying to execute operational management decisions, it is time to downsize!

The group dynamics and performance of a team will dramatically improve if it is the proper size for what you are asking them to do functionally.  Many congregational leadership quagmires are anchored in the size of their leadership structures.  The myth that “bigger is better” is pervasive.