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Editorial Reviews


Larry Osborne's profound, yet simple ideas will inspire any leader to proactively implement lasting developmental changes. You'll find his practical and transparent insights will motivate your team to stick together to advance the cause of Christ. --Craig Groeschel, LifeChurch.TV, Edmond, OK

Lots of people talk about community; few help us figure out that how. Larry Osborne is one of the few. --John Ortberg, Pastor and Author, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, Menlo Park, CA

Larry Osborne is a pastor I trust to share thoughtful insights into church leadership. With Sticky Teams, he draws from years of local church leadership to help pastors with all levels of experience understand what moves their teams forward and what holds them back. Sticky Teams is one of those books you will read more than once. It is wise and practical, just like its author. --Ed Stetzer, President, LifeWay Research

In Sticky Teams, you'll find the kind of no-nonsense, in-the-trenches, leadership wisdom that only Larry Osborne delivers: alternative, seasoned advice and leadership principles that transcend church size and denominations. --Tony Morgan, author of Killing Cockroaches: and Other Scattered Musings on Leadership

Whenever I'm around Larry Osborne, I am infused with hope and encouragement. His innovative thinking combines with his wealth of experience in building the Kingdom to make him one of the great voices in the Church today. Sticky Teams is full of great lessons that will help any church leader build teams that serve together better. --Dino Rizzo, Pastor, Healing Place Church and Co-Founder Association of Related Churches


“Lots of people talk about community; few help us figure out how to build community. Larry Osborne is one of the few.” -- John Ortberg|“Larry Osborne is a pastor I trust to share thoughtful insights into church leadership. With his new book, Sticky Teams, he draws from years of church leadership to help pastors with all levels of experience to understand what moves their teams forward and what holds them back. Sticky Teams is one of those books you will read more than once. It is wise and practical, just like its author.” -- Ed Stetzer|“Larry Osborne is one of my heroes---a real ‘leader’s leader.’ He has been delivering kingdom results for a couple of decades through the ministry of North Coast Church. In his latest book, Sticky Teams, Larry unlocks the secret---building effective leadership at every level. I believe this is a must-read book for any leader.” -- Bob Buford|“A must-read for any leader who cares about unity. The last words of Jesus’ prayer have to be our first priority as church leaders. The truth is, we don’t think we need to know how to guard unity in our teams until we don’t have unity in our closest relationships. I know firsthand what disunity feels like. In our fast-growing (Baby Huey, thanks Larry) church, we didn’t guard what was most important. Thanks to Larry’s friendship and wisdom, I got to live this book before I read it. Any leader who cares about the local church must make this book and its principles a high priority. Unity will cost you, but not having it will cost you so much more. Thank you, Larry, for believing in what Jesus died for. Sticky teams are high priority for Living Hope! A team that doesn’t stick together won’t stay together. ONLY GOD!” -- John Bishop|“What Sticky Church was to small groups, Sticky Teams is to church leadership. This is the most practical book I’ve read on the subject. Larry Osborne is a genius at bringing straightforward answers and simple solutions to even the most challenging and complex issues that every church faces. If God is calling your team toward greater health and increasing effectiveness, Sticky Teams is a must-read!” -- Scott Chapman|“In Sticky Teams, you’ll find the kind of no-nonsense, in-the-trenches leadership wisdom that only Larry Osborne delivers. It’s no secret that many of the theories of leadership that sound good on paper (and in the classroom) simply don’t work in real life. Osborne provides alternative, seasoned advice and leadership principles that transcend church size and denominations to zero in on the principles and practices that build an effective and healthy leadership team.” -- Tony Morgan|“Larry gets it. He gets the church. He gets leadership. I’ve been quoting him in my seminars for years. Finally, the ‘Best of Larry’ is out and available for all to enjoy! These truths will stick and will shape your leadership for years to come. Read Sticky Teams and you will find yourself smiling as you shake your head in agreement. Then you’ll join me in saying, ‘Thank God for Larry’s common sense, clear concepts, and biblical convictions.’ This book collects the ‘Best of Larry’ for all to enjoy!” -- Dale Burke|“I love Larry Osborne’s style of frontal attack. No innuendos or subtleties---only straight–up, experience-based principles. Sticky Teams leaves no stone unturned, addressing every aspect of organizations with commonsense, pragmatic solutions that can be used today and in the days ahead. Larry will challenge you while leading you. Get ready for a new day with your team; every team member needs to read this. Get ready for change; reading this book is the first step toward having sticky teams.” -- Dr. Samuel R. Chand|“If you’ve you ever been frustrated with how hard it is to keep everyone on the same page, if you’ve left a team meeting thinking, ‘That was a waste of time,’ if you’ve ever thought that the team meetings you were leading had all the excitement of chewing on cardboard, then this book is for you. It is so practical and filled with common sense you’ll find yourself saying, ‘That’s so true. How come I’ve never heard anyone say that before?’ Building a team is one thing; keeping that team on the same page is quite another matter. This book will help you do both.” -- Chris Dolson|“Sticky Teams is the book I needed when I landed in the jungles of my first pastorate. Pushing theory aside, Larry boldly offers the advice of an experienced practitioner. This book is destined to be a standard for all those who hope to develop healthy and lasting church leadership. This should be required reading for all staff and board members.” -- Mark Forman|“Advice can come from the ivory tower of speculation, or it can come from the trenches of experience. Pastor Larry Osborne shares what he’s learned in the trenches and has applied successfully at North Coast Church. He addresses issues that are often avoided, from setting salaries to handling a church board to firing underperforming staff. Larry successfully leads a church through a highly effective ‘sticky team.’ You’ll want one for your church, and Larry will help you get it.” -- Ron Forseth|“I loved this book. In my opinion, no one has more practical, down-to-earth but Spirit-filled wisdom than Larry Osborne. Larry has been a valuable mentor in my life. He has really helped us develop the leadership culture at The Summit Church.” -- J. D. Greear, Ph.D.|“Scan the titles of each chapter, and you’ll quickly see how valuable Sticky Teams is for anyone who wants a healthy, functional church. It’s full of the seasoned wisdom and real-life examples one picks up at the school of hard knocks. Thanks to Larry’s characteristic transparency, leaders all around can trade in the high price of hard knocks for the price of this book. What a deal! I’ll definitely be using it with key leaders and pastor friends.” -- Ken Werlein|“Frustrated about what you didn’t learn early in your ministry? It seems that all of the young leaders I engage with want Larry Osborne as their mentor. Sticky Teams contains the best thinking about practical church leadership that you will find today. Highly recommended for lead pastors and governing boards to work through together.” -- Dave Travis|“Sticky Teams is a brilliant book that every ministry leader should be required to read before accepting an appointment on a board, on a staff, or as a pastor. Osborne identifies the characteristics of a unified body of people working toward health and long-term effectiveness. It doesn’t mean we all agree, that we don’t sin, or that we will never change. In this book, Larry Osborne offers a useful compass for church leaders to navigate safely through the rough waters of board, staff, and congregational unity.” -- Scott Thomas|“Sticky Teams isn’t a book; it’s a treasure chest. Reach in for handfuls of twenty-four-karat wisdom from one of America’s most people-savvy pastors. Larry Osborne’s insights are priceless on three counts: thoroughly practical, totally readable, and highly transferable to your unique leadership context.” -- Will Mancini|“I wish every pastor, church board member, and staff member would consider this book required reading. Larry shares in a very clear and compelling way his wisdom about how pastors, board, and staff relate to one another as team members. His valuable insights could save so many church leaders and churches from serious problems. More important, church leaders and their churches will learn to be more focused on Christ’s mission. Read the book, then discuss it with other leaders. It will impact your leadership effectiveness.” -- Mel Ming|“One of the things that seemingly goes unaddressed in church world is how essential it is for a staff to have healthy relationships, to feel like a team that completes one another rather than competes with one another. Unity doesn’t happen by accident, and it also doesn’t happen by a leader commanding it. Unity and teamwork take place when a leader is willing to do the hard work and make sure the systems and structures are in place that allow for a healthy environment that, over time, becomes contagious. This book is incredible because Larry shares extremely practical insights not just on what to do but on how to do it. And the thing I especially love is that his book isn’t full of untested theories; rather it is full of values that he has lived out and led through over the past twenty years.” -- Perry Nobel|“Wow! Larry Osborne has done it again. It’s like a Vulcan “mind meld”---a lifetime of knowledge passed from one generation to the next. I can only imagine the land mines I could have avoided if I had had a book like Sticky Teams twenty-five years ago. What an incredible gift from a seasoned leader to the next generation of emerging leaders and pastors.” -- Rick Olmstead|“This is possibly the best book on leadership ever written. Everyone should buy multiple copies.” -- Carolyn Osborne|“Larry Osborne is the king of common sense and counterintuitive church leadership. Too many pastors and leadership boards search far and wide for solutions to their unity issues. Larry shows that most of the answers are not ‘out there somewhere,‘ but are in the attitudes and actions of the existing leadership. As I read through the pages of Sticky Teams, I resonated with each issue and nodded in approval of his practical solutions. It overflows with the insights and the wisdom of experience and gives church leaders a sense of the perspectives, priorities, and practices necessary for unity in whatever stage your church presently functions.” -- Scott Ridout|“If you’re looking for a book on church leadership filled with philosophies and theory, then Sticky Teams isn’t for you. If you are looking for practical, sound, biblical strategies to be a better leader, then Sticky Teams will not disappoint. I am convinced this book will sharpen me as a leader and make the church I serve a healthier, more-effective place.” -- Toby Slough|“Once again, Larry Osborne has written a timely tool for pastors everywhere who are trying to optimize their ministry. He has taken us from Sticky Church, in which we learned how to keep members involved, to Sticky Teams, in which we learn how to keep leaders united. Whether you are pastoring a small church in Mississippi or a megachurch in California, Larry has something to share on how to remove the obstacles that prevent staffs and boards from working together effectively. Larry’s transparency about his successes and failures lifts the reader to higher heights as we make room for ’young eagles‘ and ensure that our churches remain relevant. This book is vital for all pastors who want all the players in their churches to work toward the goal of being a place where people stick and stay. Sticky Teams is both practical and inspiring, with real-life examples of how to avoid the pitfalls of leadership and how to structure your church administratively for success. Larry shows us how to get stuck on our unity, instead of in our dysfunction, and how shared vision inevitably leads us to be a sticky church.” -- Dr. Stacy L. Spencer|“As I read through an advance copy of Sticky Teams, two words and a phrase repeated in my mind. The words? ‘Profoundly simple.’ Larry has a gift to take the profound and make it easy to understand. As a pastor, I need that. The phrase? ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ Again and again, I reflected on situations that I’ve encountered as a pastor struggling to lead different types of teams, wishing that I’d thought of Larry’s profoundly simple advice. If you relate to boards, lead a staff, or are thinking about starting a church, seriously, this ought to be one of the first books you consider purchasing.” -- Greg Surratt|“Sticky Teams isn’t a book about getting volunteers to work well enough to accomplish some church project. It is a straightforward seminar on paper that speaks to the very issues pastors of growing churches face every day, and offers sane and tested ways to turn those issues into fuel for the mission of Christ. Larry Osborne has few peers in the area of practical church leadership. He takes profound challenges and untwists them with a simplicity that brings clarity without dismissing their complexity. The gospel mission, through the church, must occupy the center of every pastor’s vision. This book will help you build and empower the team your church needs to keep that vision vibrant and productive.” -- David W. Hegg|“For a couple of years now, I’ve sounded like a broken record. Whenever someone has asked me how to handle some tricky situation around our church, I’ve pulled out old notes from conversations with Larry Osborne and said, ‘Well, Larry would recommend we . . . ’. Larry seems to have faced every conceivable tension point a pastor of a growing church is likely to encounter. The lessons he learned along the way have been refined through decades of fruitful ministry and poured into this intensely practical book. I am so stoked that I no longer have to dig up old notes. I merely have to hand out copies of Sticky Teams.” -- Noel Heikkinen|“Larry isn’t selling ’sexy.’ Sticky Teams tackles the holy trinity of church leadership---the board, the staff, and the people who gather---offering tangible, even counterintuitive, wisdom. Too often, books or conferences on leadership offer solutions that simply leave you wishing your budget, facilities, staff, or congregation were much bigger, better, or faster. What is meant to inspire ends up being disempowering. But Sticky Teams is different. It is filled with scalable and transferable wisdom that will help you and your people flourish whether you serve a church of five, five hundred, or five thousand.” -- Tom Hughes|“Most of the time, sequels are weak. But occasionally the sequel is as strong as or stronger than the original. That is the case with Sticky Teams by Larry Osborne. I’ve had the privilege of knowing and following Larry for more than twenty years. During that time, I’ve often described him as the guy who was asking and answering the questions the rest of us were not ready to deal with yet. Sticky Teams builds on Larry’s seminal books, The Unity Factor and Sticky Church. Readers will learn to lead better, serve better, and build better teams. I’m looking forward to a having a stickier staff, board, and congregation team because of Larry’s contribution. Thanks, Larry---again!” -- Dr. John Jackson|“Larry Osborne shares principles that will empower individuals to build strong and effective teams. His insight and transparency will benefit all sectors of society. If you want to build a team that will impact your organization and your community, you want this book!” -- Pastor John Jenkins|“What the church needs, in every generation, is fresh perspective and seasoned experience. It’s rare to find both in one voice, but that’s what I’ve come to expect from Larry Osborne’s work---innovation and mature perspective. What a gift to the church!” -- James Long|“Larry Osborne is one of the wisest prophetic leaders in the Christian church today. He continues to say things no one else is saying, teaching us things no one else is teaching. In Sticky Teams, he does it again! This book is a gift to the church. Every pastor, board member, and church committee member in America ought to read and discuss it. Larry’s discussion on ‘What Game Are We Playing?’ may have saved my ministry. But frankly, every chapter could do that for us all!” -- Shawn Lovejoy|“Larry Osborne is a rare sage whose leadership insights read like fresh air in an otherwise saturated market. And his latest book, Sticky Teams, should be required reading for pastors, church planters, and those in seminaries preparing for ministry. The book captures the experiential, innovative knowledge of a proven pastor, yet packages it in a way that is both compelling and practical. It will help you avoid painful mistakes in team-building and costly, personal losses that will no doubt occur without such proactive consideration. Chapter 4 alone is worth the price of the book!” -- Mark DeYmaz, , Founding Pastor

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (April 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310324645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310324645
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Larry Osborne is one of the senior and teaching pastors at North Coast Church in Vista, California. Under his leadership, weekend attendance has grown from 128 to over 10,000. Recognized nationally as one of the 10 Most Influential Churches in America and one of the most innovative, North Coast Church pioneered the use of video worship venues and is one of the leaders in the multi-site movement with more than 31 local worship options each weekend-each one targeted at a different missional demographic. More than 90 percent of North Coast's average weekend attendance participates in weekly sermon-based small groups, a concept that is spreading across the nation as an alternative to traditional small group methodologies. Osborne's books include Innovation's Dirty Little Secret, Accidental Pharisees, Sticky Teams, Sticky Church, Mission Creep, The Unity Factor, A Contrarian's Guide to Spirituality and 10 Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By John Gibbs TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
There is something dysfunctional about most church boards, councils or governing committees, and to those trapped in the current systems it often seems that not much can be done about it. But in this book Larry Osborne offers a number of great insights into how a church board or a church staff can be coalesced into a great team, with the individual members working in unity for common goals rather than fighting each other for scarce resources.

The author defines unity in the context of a church leadership team as including doctrinal unity, respect and friendship, and philosophical unity. This means that someone who is a good Christian but who does not subscribe to your philosophy of ministry will not be a good candidate for your board. It also means that you need to apply effort and resources into training and growing your leadership team.

The ideas presented in the book include ways of reducing board conflict, recognizing changing team dynamics as a team grows, the need to play more to your strengths than to your weaknesses, the importance of clarifying the roles of pastor, staff and board, making room at the top for young leaders, providing adequate training to the board, how to get board, staff and congregational alignment, handling change, talking about money and salaries, and how to act when things go wrong.

This is probably the best book on church leadership team management that I have read. While acknowledging that there is no single right way to run a church, it provides plenty of creative ideas for overcoming many different intractable-seeming obstacles, and the discussion questions at the end make it suitable for church leadership teams to work their way through.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Dr. David Frisbie on May 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
Dr. Larry Osborne serves as lead pastor of a growing California congregation -- over 9,300 in attendance this Easter. In addition he oversees a staff of some two dozen pastors and around two hundred church employees. When he opines about a subject such as "Sticky Teams" Osborne is writing from a wealth of personal experience and astute observation.

If you've read any of his other books, you already know his 'voice' as a writer --- approachable, understandable, clear. Although well educated and highly intelligent, Osborne avoids the traps and pitfalls of a merely academic mindset. He wants to know what works in the trenches --- and conversely, what isn't helpful in actual practice.

Always the contrarian, Osborne may surprise some with his seeming disregard for carping critics and crying complainers. Yet in logical and concise fashion, he explains why a community of leaders should not be held hostage to the whims of those few who may disagree.

Year after year Dr. Osborne is one of the most popular, most requested, and most sought-after speakers for conferences, workshops and seminars where leaders meet to learn and grow. There's a reason Osborne enjoys such sustained popularity: He's been busy learning what works, and he's a gifted explainer of how and why the same principles could help you succeed in building a unified team.

Dr. David Frisbie
The Center for Marriage & Family Studies
Author of "The Soul-Mate Marriage" and 9 other books
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Dr. David Steele on March 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sticky Teams by Larry Osborne is a leadership book with an emphasis on team-building. The author maintains, "Sticky teams stick together." And sticking together in difficult times is an indicator of health.

Osborne divides Sticky Teams into three parts, each designed to promote long-term unity and health in local church, which a special emphasis placed on the elder council, staff, and congregation.

Osborne stresses the three pillars of unity which includes doctrinal unity, respect and friendship, and philosophical unity.

He alerts the reader to transition points when growth takes place within a church and recommends different approaches (or "changing the game") for different contexts.

PART ONE: Landmines and Roadblocks

The author sets his sights on five roadblocks to unity: 1) meeting in the wrong place, 2) ignoring relationships, 3) not meeting often enough, 4) constant turnover, and 5) too many members.

Principles of protecting the unity of an elder council and church staff are discussed, what the author refers to as "guarding the gate." Osborne insists on maintaining high standards at the leadership level. Spiritual maturity is central. Leaders must be on the same philosophical page - they must agree on the overall direction of the church. Finally, leaders must work as a team relationally. There must be a relational match.

Osborne spends time focusing on clarification of roles at the board and staff level. "Healthy teams have great teamwork," he writes. "There's little role confusion, and everyone knows what the ultimate goal is."

PART TWO: Equipped for Ministry

Part two develops the importance of ministry alignment, mission, values, and methods.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. M. Aiken on February 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the things I chose to do a few years back was broaden my reading from just theological works to those involving business, leadership, church ministry, history, and an occasional fictional work. I kicked off 2012 with a casually paced read through this book. I intentionally wanted to take the read I could absorb the details and apply them along the way.
Osborne gives an amazingly unfiltered treatment of the subject of pastoral or ministerial leadership. Workings within the confines of the corporate structure of a business are far more predictable than those of the church. Business principles can INFORM a person on how to lead effectively, but they do not apply perfectly.
Everything in the book discusses the leader's responsibility to develop a team that lasts. This often involves inheriting a team and transforming it. The principles...and the direct instructions that Osborne shares, specifically address the lessons he learned in transforming a team.
Some of the crossovers from this book to the traditional business structure relate to how a leader directs his executive team in a company. Whether working with a Board of Directors or motivating teams of senior managers, the principles are applicable.
The two biggest takeaways for me in the book relates to unity of the team and expectations of the team. First, "Unity that insists on uniformity is not unity at all" (p.29). A healthy team environment cultivates conflict to work through situations and develop the best outcomes. Unity is a commitment to the values and the goals of the organization that provide the framework and impetus that guide the conflict to excellence. Second is the leader's willingness to PUSH his team on to excellence.
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