Three Gears of Growth

Image 3-24-16 at 12.54 PMGear (n.) “One of a set of toothed wheels that work together to alter the relation between the speed of a driving mechanism, and the speed of the driven parts.”

In all my years of coaching leaders and churches, I’ve found that new growth only becomes possible when three separate, but interdependent gears are working together.

For this reason, all of my coaching revolves around getting these three gears to work together more efficiently. When this happens, I believe that growth is inevitable!


If we don’t have a healthy culture, nothing else will be right. What are our values? Are they being lived out? How do we build a life giving culture? How do we maintain it? Hold ourselves accountable to it? How do we keep vision from leaking? How do eliminate the toxins that are contaminating health? Healthy cultures begin with healthy leaders; Spirit filled leaders who speak for God not for themselves.


Culture is formed and maintained by people. A staff isn’t necessarily a team, but it can become one. One more staff person won’t solve our issues. Most of us think we are one hire away from exponential growth. We might be one fire away. We must have the right people in the right seats on the bus at the right stage of church’s growth. When and only when that happens, are we ready for the third gear.


We all have systems. Systems are created by design or default. Andy Stanley has said that most churches are perfectly structured for the results they are getting now. If we want to grow, the systems will need to change. Every leader will need to become effective equippers, system builders. and work within the systems, to get and stay healthy while the ministry grows! Systems are the only way we do this and stay sane and centered in the process!

Is all of this Biblical? You tell me:

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship (culture)(systems), to the breaking of bread and to prayer (culture) . Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles (culture). All the believers were together and had everything in common (team). They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need (culture). Every day they continued to meet together (team) in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together (team) with glad and sincere hearts (culture), praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people (culture). And the Lord added to their number daily (systems) those who were being saved (culture).” Acts 2:42–47 (NIV)

Originally posted by Shawn Lovejoy at‘s blog site.

Shawn is the Directional Leader of, a Coaching and Consulting Ministry for Pastors and Leaders. Today, his heart longs for healthy churches led by healthy leaders and healthy teams. His new book for leaders: Be Mean About The Vision: Preserving and Protecting What Matters, releases in April at bookstores everywhere. Shawn lives in Birmingham, AL with his wife Tricia, and their three kids Hannah, Madison, and Paul.

Sign up now to attend HGC’s Free Webcast with Shawn Lovejoy on Thursday, May 12th to hear more about what it takes to have the right team.