Dealing with Rogue Leaders

Helpful tips from the Nines conference

Last week I had the privilege of virtually attending the Nines conference, which featured many different pastors and leaders discussing hot topics over two days. One interesting topic covered was handling rogue leaders. Brian Tome from Crossroads Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, offered tips—things he learned the hard way as he dealt with this difficult issue—and two really stood out to me.

First, he said it's crucial that we say the hard things before it's hard to say. In other words, make your expectations clear and speak up about the problem from the beginning. Don't wait until the problem is out of control.

Second, it's important that we play biblical instead of nice. That took a second to sink in for me, but it's true. If we're more concerned about being nice than handling things in the way Scripture instructs, we're essentially rogue leaders ourselves.

If you lead a small-group ministry or coach leaders, you're bound to experience a few rogue leaders, but these two tips can help minimize the impact. If we're clear from the beginning about our expectations, we set a solid foundation. And if leaders step outside those boundaries, we can call them on it. Plus, if we're willing to have the hard conversations at the first hint of something gone astray, we may be able to nip it in the bud.

The second tip becomes key when the situation has developed and we have to deal with it. That's hard to live by for relational small-group ministers and coaches like us. Too often, though, the reason we try to be nice is to protect ourselves: we're afraid of what the leader will say to or think of us, or how uncomfortable we'll feel. If, though, we focus on our love for the other person rather than our own comfort, it may be easier to "play biblical."

What have you found helpful in dealing with rogue leaders? Share with us below.

Plus, check out Ministering to Struggling Small-Group Leaders for tips from others.

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