When Directing a CM That had a director before you – how to not disrupt a “dream team”

Your Question:

“I have just been hired to direct a CM that has had a CM director before me – What should I do with a CM “dream team” to not disrupt it?

The Issues:

Good, faithful people who served under a former CM Director may have trouble giving the same service under new leadership. Earning the trust of the “Dream Team” takes many hours, encouragement and plenty of personal attention.

Scripture Foundation:

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1: 3-6

Short Answer:

It is wonderful to “inherit” a CM “dream team”! It is much like God’s words to the Israelites before they entered the “Promised Land.”  He clearly told Moses, and His people, that the land they will enter has been blessed by Him. He also warned them to not to forget who is giving them the land!


When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” Deuteronomy 6: 10-12. 


This “dream team” was built by God and the former CM Director over many months or years.  It is a treasure!  Don’t take it for granted!  Walk into this “promised land” with your head bowed and a grateful, servant’s heart.  The existing “dream team” is very cautious about you.  You are a new leader.  They have been comfortable serving under the former CM Director. They were comfortable and safe.  Just like children whose parents get divorced, they are cautious and may harbor resentment. They may not trust you.  You must do all you can to earn their trust through your own sacrifice and support. 


In the first few weeks or months, work hard for them.  Get supplies for them, make sure the room is comfortable, pray with them before, during, and after the service. Compliment them profusely!  Help them clean up after service, be available in the hallways during the service to assist them in any way you can. 


In the first month of your leadership, plan a free CM banquet, and invite every CM team member to attend.  At this banquet, celebrate the “fruit” of this ministry, invite the senior pastor to speak, and tell them your story.  At the banquet, affirm the CM vision and share what God did to bring you to the position. 


In your first couple of months, don’t make any significant changes (unless you must to protect the children or correct some area that may be dangerous to the children or to the CM).  Ask God to help you discern who the strong leaders of the CM are, and also who, among the CM team, may feel neglected or not valued.  In the first 2 months, work hard to have personal encounters with these people. This can be done after the service in a casual conversation in the room or CM hallway.  Your goal for these encounters is to support the CM team members and to begin building trust.  Kindness and listening are more powerful than you sharing your vision or speaking. Have “big ears and a small mouth” while you get to know them. 


During the third month of your new position, invite the key leaders to enjoy some pie with you at a local restaurant.  This “pie encounter” is a powerful gesture from you to them!  It recognizes their value and influence in the ministry, and it also opens the doors to further levels of leadership within the CM.  While enjoying some delicious pie, share your vision for the CM as well as some possible program or event ideas.  Your goal is to clearly let them know that you can’t do this alone.  Their participation alongside you is critical!  You may or may not decide to build a leadership team of coordinators at this meeting, but if you feel this is something the CM needs, this is a perfect time to “cast the vision” for the concept of area coordinators. 


The “bottom line” of how to keep your “dream team” happy and effective is to be kind to them, listen to their ideas, support them in any way possible, and to always express your gratefulness to them!

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