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Team Building

Team Building

   When a church is building a leadership team many times the attempt to build a “dream” team can actually hurt the ministry more than help it.  Just because you go after the “all star” type of leaders and staff does not mean that they will have the right kind of team chemistry.  Be careful of looking for abilities first but rather look for character and godly fruit in their lives. Looking for team members who are full of the Holy Spirit requires looking for individuals who are bearing the fruit of the Spirit.  Here are some things to look for when building a team.

     First, look for those who are people driven!  They are relational and love being with people, ministering to people, and caring for people.  Other people love to be around them because they focus on them and not themselves.  Make sure that you can get a good testimony from their church family that they are given to hospitality and known for creating community and not destroying it.  Some people are great at planning and creating programs but when people begin to work with them they are difficult to get along with.  Team members must be more people focused than program focused.  They may be an introvert but their heart causes them to reach out to others.

     Secondly, make sure they understand what they are being asked to do.  It is unfair to expect things from a team member when they do not know what those expectations are.  Pay attention to details and a clear written description of their responsibilities will help everyone on the team. There is no room for handshake deals because soon there will be misunderstandings about who said what.   A good thing to remember when recruiting team members to serve in a particular area is to under promise and over deliver.  Be very careful and cautious about unrealistic expectations. 

     Third, you also need to look for people who are generalists and not specialists.  Specialization can come later but look first for people who have a servant heart and have a burden for the entire spiritual health of the church not just one particular group.  They must be willing to help wherever help is needed.  Stress core values of the church and the non-negotiables.  The things that team members should always do and those things team members should never do must be clearly communicated to all team members.  Every person needs to know what can get them promoted and what can get them fired.  Remember, it is always easier to promote than demote.

     Fourth, be aware that there are diamonds in the rough out there.  They might already be in your church and just need the attention and mentoring of someone who is already a leader.  Many are convinced that the only way to build a team is through recruiting them but they can be raised up through our own farm systems.  When they are raised up from within then they already understand the church culture they are in and the learning curve greatly diminishes.  When you recruit from without there is often a required time of deprogramming that must occur for them to fit in and embrace the vision of your team.

     Fifth, make sure those on your team are disciple makers.  They are going to mentor, teach, and train others to take over for them.  Everyone on the team should always be trying to work themselves out of a job.  They should be willing to cross train individuals to be able to do the work of “the” ministry not “a” ministry.  Look for team members who are not into titles, promotions, raises, and recognition but are more interested in equipping and encouraging others.  They do not care who gets the credit but they do want God to get all the glory.

     Every great team is more interested in the other team members than they are in themselves.  They have an exit strategy for when they may no longer be on the team.  They realize that no one is indispensable so they want to make sure that their bench is deep and there are plenty of people who can step forward to lead when they are needed.  God’s team is always reproducing disciples and reproducing leaders by pouring into them what they need to know and then giving them the opportunity to play in the game.  Everyone on the team is important for the body of Christ to function the way He wants His churches to function!      


Churches Helping Churches

   “God helps those who help themselves!”  Unfortunately, many people quote that as if it is a verse in the Bible.  The truth is; it is not!  The bigger problem is that many think even if it is not a direct Bible quote it certainly sums up what the Bible teaches.  Once again; it is not truth!  Actually, Jesus says, “Without me ye can do nothing!”  In fact, the truth is that God helps those who cannot help themselves.  He saves those who cannot save themselves.  He sustains those who cannot sustain themselves.  He secures those who cannot secure themselves.   

     God does not need us but we desperately need Him!  We take far too much credit, sometimes, for our accomplishments when the truth is that it is the work of God in our lives. Jer. 9:23-24 says “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.”

     We have also heard, “hurting people hurt people!”  That is often very true, but what I am wondering is why do helped people and helped churches not help others more?  We all need help and we all should have a burden to help others.  Is your church helping another church?  What is your church doing to be a blessing and an encouragement to another congregation?  Have you thought of things you could do and ways you could help a congregation that could definitely use a helping hand?  Let me go ahead and say it now, “Healthy churches help other churches!”

     While there are many ways to be an encouragement to another church such as prayer, advice, resources, and fellowship here are some practical ways you can be a blessing to another congregation and/or a church plant:

     First, mentor them!  Allow your staff and volunteers to spend time with the other church’s leadership in order to share ideas and brainstorm.  It is always good to have a fresh set of eyes to look at your situation and invariably they will see things you do not see.  Everybody and every church have blind spots and it is healthy to cross-pollinate with others who are striving for the same goals.  There are blind spots we cannot see but others can and we should always be willing to learn from others.  Remember, a mentor is someone who has been where you want to go and is willing to help you get there.

     Second, spend time with them!  It doesn’t have to be through a training or consultation that you spend time together but also just enjoying each other’s company.  Here are some ideas: A joint baptism service or prayer service, plan a praise and worship service together, a service project in the other church’s community, a family camp or retreat together.  You could even both travel together to go help a non-profit ministry such as a rescue mission, a food pantry, or a pregnancy crisis center.  Dream and envision ways you could spend time together and be a blessing to each other and to others also.

     Third, share your resources with them.  There are all types of resources but quite often expertise is not thought of as much as finances.  Some churches could use a web-site person, talented musicians, equipped teachers, and many other skilled people.  Take the initiative to find out what the other church needs and then connect them with someone in your church who can meet that need.  Phil. 4:15-16 says, “Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.”

     Fourth, take a short-term mission trip to help them on a particular project!  Take a group over the weekend or for a week and tackle a project that maybe they could not accomplish on their own.  Provide the person-power needed that they do not have presently.  Our church just returned from Nixa, MO, helping church planter John Herring.  We helped clean-up after a city event hosted by the chamber of commerce.  We were excited to hear how thankful the city officials were for a church that was willing to truly be servant minded.  It was a huge win for Refuge church.

     Healthy churches help other churches!