Tag Archive: empire building

King Of The Hill — Church Staff Mentality

king of the hill

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto®

It’s not collaborative. It’s not efficient. And it’s not Christ-honoring.

It’s silo building – also referred to as empire building. And in my experience, it’s much too prevalent within churches.  In fact, its genesis is typically a staff member.

Silo building (or empire building) has this kind of thinking associated with it:

I need to gather up all the available resources (budget dollars, the best volunteers, the coolest graphics for my ministry, the best rooms, technology, and platform time) so I can build my ministry empire. This will ensure my silo is not only separate from other silos, but others will pale in comparison to mine.

Now, although I’ve never heard a blatant statement like that from a staff member, I’ve seen evidence of that mentality.

We can say our staff is all on the same a team. We can say we want other ministries to succeed. But if we don’t information share and consider other’s interests before our own (Philippians 2), we’ll likely revert to building up our own silo.

A leader must exhibit the value of a silo-free zone to avoid this. Amongst your staff, it’s a value that has to be talked about and lived out.

When I was in elementary school, we played on a dirt hill on the corner of the playground. The game: king of the hill. The objective: do whatever you have to, in order to be standing alone on top of the hill. Lie, bite, tackle, manipulate, or punch… sounds fun, doesn’t it?

As leaders and ministers, we might have the talent and skills to be on top of the hill… to have the tallest silo. But I’m pretty sure God isn’t impressed. And in the process of building up our silo, we’ve metaphorically bitten, scratched, tackled, and punched fellow believers and ministers to get to where we are.   For that reason, others will resent us. And the saddest part is, they’ll typically go elsewhere and build their own silo because you wouldn’t share the top of the hill with them. You’ve then perpetuated silo building, instead of building up God’s kingdom.

Here are a few characteristics of a silo-free thinker:

  • Asks the question “Who’s in most need to receive this on our staff team?” when they come across a new resource.
  • Talks about other ministries more than they do their own.
  • Finds ways to serve in other ministries, with no strings attached.
  • Finds ways to repurpose resources among teams and departments.

What silo-building tendencies do you or your ministries have?

How can you avoid the ‘king of the hill’ mentality?

Talk about it with your staff. Pray about it.

It’s not wrong to have a successful ministry (a tall silo). But if you look around and every other ministry has a short silo, it’s a problem. Build theirs up, or let them share yours.


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