Vital Roles on a Leadership Team

Jay BransfordDefining Roles, Leadership Messages, Shared Leadership, Structural Leadership, Team Leadership0 Comments

by the ALLC Core Team

With the exception of Jesus, the perfect leader does NOT exist.  Every leader has his or her own strengths and weaknesses as a leader.  This is one important reason why YWAM highly encourages the concept of “shared leadership”.  While any one person generally fails to represent all the strengths necessary to lead a ministry well in the long-run, a team of people who share various leadership roles and responsibilities can.

4 Vital Leadership Roles

YWAM’s 6-week Leadership Development Course (LDC) emphasizes four vital giftings or roles that should ideally be represented on any ministry team, especially within the leadership team itself.  Those giftings or roles on a leadership team are:

  • Prophetic – a special anointing to hear from God, challenge the status quo, and be a spiritual stimulator and intercessor
  • Apostolic – a special anointing to pioneer, be visionary, envision new possibilities, initiate action, and inspire others
  • Operational – a special anointing to plan, implement, organize, schedule, and manage tasks or events
  • Pastoral – a special anointing to care for, shepherd, nurture, disciple and encourage others

Biblical Examples

It is fascinating to reflect on how God, as the trinity, represents these 4 vital leadership roles so perfectly:

  • Prophetic: God the Father is the inspiration for all the prophetic writings in the bible.  In addition, Jesus was prophetic throughout his 3 years of ministry.
  • Apostolic: God the Father had an inspiring vision for the world and He is the constant overseer of it.
  • Operational: Jesus put into action the vision and will of the Father.  He did exactly what needed to happen for the redemption of the human race through his life, death, and resurrection.
  • Pastoral: The Holy Spirit comes alongside his sheep and brings care, understanding and new levels of equipping for their role in the Kingdom of God.
Applying the 4 Roles to Ministry

You may find that the need for each of these roles changes over time as a ministry develops.  For example, it is common for new ministries to be birthed by someone receiving a prophetic word from God.  This may come to someone who has a special prophetic anointing.  It is also common for ministries to be started by leaders who have an apostolic gifting, who have a strong and inspiring vision they communicate to others.  As a ministry gets established it often discovers the need for operational giftings in order to better organize and plan out what the ministry does and how.  And as more team members join the ministry there is naturally a higher need for pastoral care from leadership.

But as the ministry develops and grows it will never outgrow the need for all 4 of these leadership giftings/roles.  If you remove any one of them from the picture, the ministry will eventually begin to decline.  We must continuously hear new and afresh from God (Prophetic).  We must continue to be visionary and inspired to take action (Apostolic).  We must be organized enough to be able to translate vision and strategy into action (Operational).  And we must take care of our team/flock if we intend for the team to remain healthy and intact in the longer run (Pastoral).

It is quite possible for someone to have multiple leadership giftings and thus play multiple leadership roles.  For example, a single leader might be gifted both as an Apostle and as a Prophet.  However, it is very unusual for any one person (or leader) to be strong in all four of the leadership giftings/roles discussed above.  Therefore, as you develop your ministry team, it is extremely helpful to think about these 4 particular roles and who is best suited to hold those roles on your team.

  • Of these four roles, what are your strongest leadership giftings?
  • In which of these areas are you weak?
  • What could be the long-term impact to your ministry in the absence of having all 4 of these leadership giftings?
  • Who on your current team could fill any of these key leadership roles?
  • What type of person do you need to pray for, look for, and recruit to better round out the leadership giftings on your ministry team?


*For more resources from the ALLC on Defining Roles, click here.