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5 Ingredients for a Dynamic Team

Team Dynamics

     Once you have your “dream” team together and functioning it can quickly become a nightmare.  Is everyone working together on the agreed vision of the church?  Is there a spirit of cooperation and camaraderie?  Does everyone desire to work together for the common good and health of everyone involved?  You must continually be working on team dynamics with clear communication because the potential for misunderstandings and individual agendas will always be present.

     First, there must be a willingness to lead through other people.  If you are not careful, your commitment to excellence will hurt your desire to invest time into developing leaders.  The temptation is to think you are the only one who can do things the way we want them done.  You know what I’m talking about because at one time or the other you have probably thought or said, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself!”  That actually is not true!
The risk here is to trust other people and delegate responsibility but this risk must be taken.

     Second, there must be a focus on training leaders to do the work of the ministry.  Remember, Jesus did not ignore the crowds but He did focus on His small group by pouring into their lives and encouraging them to do greater things then He did.  It has been said that Jesus, “influenced twelve, invested in three, and was intimately close to one.”  Someone has said that to encourage means to “pour courage into someone else.”  It is easy to develop a culture in our ministries where everything depends on us but that is not scriptural.  Who are you pouring courage into through intentional relationships so that they might develop into reproducing leaders?
     Third, you need to delegate and pass off certain tasks so you can focus on leadership development.  If you are too busy to mentor potential leaders then you are too busy!
Take a closer look at what you are doing and realize that 90-95% of what you do could be done by someone else, especially if they are properly trained.  We must make time to develop leaders and develop a multiplication culture of reproducing disciples and leaders. What would happen if you were to dedicate 5-10 hours a week to mentoring others who would then mentor others?

     Fourth, realize that if you want more out of your team you must put more into them.  Gary Rohrmayer puts it this way, “The Pygmalion Principle says that leaders tend to rise to the level of your expectation.  The key here is just not having high expectations but making these expectations known.”  Gary suggests three areas of concern: 

  • Connecting Relationally: Am I getting into their world, their frame of
    reference?
  • Clarifying Strategically: Have I helped them process through a problem
    or internalized a new learning?
  • Committing Specifically: Have I helped them move forward in their
    ministry?  Can we see specific progress?

     Fifth, make sure you value your team for who they are not just for the job they can get done.  While I do not remember who said it I do remember being challenged by this statement, “Are you using people to build your church or are you using your church to build up your people.”  That is especially true about the leadership team you are working with whether they are paid, volunteer or a combination of both.  If you want to build great team dynamics make sure they are praying together but also playing together.  How are you intentionally working at developing one another spiritually, relationally, emotionally, and physically?

     When a leader is committed to developing other leaders they are not interested in being the star but in helping the team members to shine!  The focus of leading your team to have the right dynamics requires asking the right questions in order to train and lead them up:

  • What have you done to prepare this leader for this opportunity?
  • What can you do to equip and empower this leader?
  • What can you do to help this leader grow and improve?
  • How can you coach and mentor followers to become leaders?

     Healthy churches have built great team dynamics into their leadership culture.

Building a Dream Team

Dream Team

 

      When you think of building a dream team at your church or in your ministry what comes to mind?  Whenever I think of the term “Dream Team,” my mind immediately goes back to the 1992 Olympic “Dream Team” that included Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.  They completely dominated their competition in every game by an average of 44 points.  This was the first U.S. Olympic team to include NBA stars and it gave fans a glimpse of basketball at its finest.

    The differences between ministry teams and athletic teams are obvious but there are also many comparisons that can be drawn.  Legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant put it this way, “I’m just a plowhand from Arkansas, but I have learned how to hold a team together – how to lift some men up, how to calm others down, until finally they’ve got one heartbeat together as a team.”  The goal of any team ought to be “One Heartbeat” which will then insure that everyone is working towards the same goals.

     Coach Bryant went on to say,”There’s always just three things I say: ‘If anything goes bad, I did it.  If anything goes semi-good, then we did it.  If anything goes real good, they did it!’  That’s all it takes to get people to win.”  What great advice, because when we are focused on servant leadership as a team then we don’t care who gets the credit; other than Jesus!  All of us have heard it multiple times but it is still true; “Together Everyone Accomplishes More” and Ecc. 4:9-12 teaches this principle clearly.

     In  Jesus on Leadership Becoming a Servant Leader, C. Gene Wilkes has much to say about what a team should look like.  He describes four elements: Togetherness, Empowerment, Accountability, and Mentoring!

  • Togetherness – This is a team sport and Wilkes says, “A leader is more like a player on a soccer team than a pro golfer on tour…Ministry teams are how the early church met the need of evangelism. Ministry teams are how the church of the twenty-first century will continue to meet needs effectively.” Remember, a team must share “one heartbeat.”  A great resource on this concept is Church is a Team Sport by Jim Putman. 
  • Empowerment – Coach John Wooden, the wizard of Westwood, who led the UCLA basketball team to seven straight national championships said, “The guy who puts the ball through the hoop has ten hands.” Team members must know their role and what is expected of them.  Wilkes says, “Encouragement without training is like enthusiasm without direction.”  We cannot afford to have the pep rally without a game plan! 
  • Accountability – The leader of the team is first responsible for equipping team members. 4:12 points out that the leaders are “for the training of the saints in the work of the ministry.”  Wilkes says, “Team accountability can happen when team members become servants to the goal of the ministry” (one heartbeat) “and slaves to those on the team to help them reach that goal.”  Your team needs more from you if you expect more from them!
  • Mentoring – Never forget that the speed of the leader determines the speed of the team! Don’t expect those who follow you to catch what you are teaching unless they see you demonstrating it in your life.  Wilkes says, “Mentors model what they want their followers to do.  Their actions weigh as heavy as their words.”  And, “Servant leaders model for others what Christ modeled for them.”

     Building a “dream team’ requires far more than teaching leaders something they need to know.  It is more than leaders just learning something they need to do.  It also requires you showing them how to be something and the only way for that to occur is to live out what Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”  Make sure someone is mentoring you on how to lead with a servant’s heart and then you mentor someone in the same way.

          In Developing the Leaders Around You, John Maxwell says, “An organization cannot increase its productivity—but people can!  The asset that truly appreciates within any organization is people.  Systems become dated.  Buildings deteriorate.  Machinery wears.  But people can grow, develop, and become more effective if they have a leader who understands their potential value.”

     Healthy churches focus on developing leaders and building their “dream team!”