Building Great Teams: An Interview with Brad Jensen

If you’ve been at Faith for a while, you have undoubtedly noticed that we have some pretty fantastic leaders here. From small group leaders to Sunday volunteers, Faith has a rich reserve of people who lead faithfully, serve humbly and exalt Jesus in all they do.

So is Faith just lucky to have so many great leaders involved in ministry? No. It’s not luck but God continually bringing the right people to the right places which allows for leaders to grow organically here at Faith.

Much of the vision for leadership here at Faith comes from our Lead Team (Did you know that Pastor Brad has a PhD in Organizational Leadership and Performance from CSU?!), so we thought it would be fun to sit down with Brad Jensen and chat all things leadership to see what informs his understanding of leadership and how that vision helps create the dynamic teams that serve, help, connect and minister to all of us. We are grateful for all that you do, Leaders at Faith!

David: How do you define leadership?
Brad: The decision to help others find their place of impact and effectiveness.

David: How does God inform the vision for leadership at Faith?
Brad: All good leadership is the same wherever you find it because the principles behind good leadership are given by God, demonstrated by Jesus and, in the case of Christian leaders, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

David: What makes a healthy team? 
Brad:  Great question! Trust, candor, accountability and results. Trust because we believe the best of one another, trusting that we are each keeping short accounts with Jesus and with each other. Candor because ministry is too important and life too short to be playing games of avoiding the difficult conversations. Accountability because we belong to each other in this ministry and have given each other the right to speak into each other’s lives. And results because we are a team with a mission to accomplish.

Since leadership is the decision to help others find their place of impact and effectiveness, leadership to teams is critical. Without a team, there is no leadership, and if you don’t have a leader, you don’t really have a team. A leader gives definition to the team, articulating vision and giving clarity to how the team functions to accomplish that vision.

David: How did leadership and teams play a role during the pandemic?
Brad: Since leaders are all about helping their teams accomplish a shared mission, the pandemic was just another season of staying focused on the mission Jesus has given us. During this season, there were tons of things that we could have gotten sidetracked and distracted by (politics, cultural emphases, convictions related to COVID, masks or vaccines), but the teams at Faith did a really good job of keeping the main thing the main thing – helping people know and follow Jesus. I am so grateful for our people staying focused.

David: How has learning about leadership impacted your life and vision for serving God?
Brad: I would just say what I learned from another leader: “Leadership is a stewardship; it is temporary and you’re accountable.” This quote is both a caution and an encouragement because it reminds me that leadership isn’t about me, but about the work Jesus has given me to do. The mission has been going on for a long time before me, it continues today and it will continue after I’m gone. I’m just a steward in this season, and someday I’ll give an account for how I handled this responsibility. That reality is freeing when I’m at the end of my own leadership resources.

David: What advice would you give leaders trying to build a healthy team?
Brad: Wow! This one is huge! First, ask Jesus for help. Ask him every day to make you the leader you need to be for your team and trust him to do it. 

Second, find a mentor. Find someone who has been doing for a while what you want to accomplish and ask them that question and then keep asking that question as you encounter new situations, circumstances and challenges. Leaders are learners, and second to the wisdom that Jesus himself gives, there is no better place to gain understanding than from people who have been accomplishing what you want to accomplish. Make sure they know how much you appreciate their help – buy them coffee or lunch or send them out to dinner with their spouse for their impact in your life.

David: Do you have any good books that you’d recommend to someone who is looking to explore leadership more?
Brad: Sticky Teams by Larry Osborne (focused on church leadership) and Good to Great by Jim Collins (broader focus on organizations and leadership)

David Young has been a member of Faith for five years. He is a public relations communication specialist with a background in journalism, and he serves on Faith’s writing team. He loves creative writing and being able to share captivating stories with the church.

David is a Colorado native who enjoys climbing Colorado’s 14ers, fly fishing, backpacking and mountain biking.