We’ve all heard the saying that “no man is an island”. I am convinced that when it comes to the Kingdom of God, we can do more together in team ministry than we could ever do by ourselves. God designed his church to be a living organism, a body, fitly joined (Eph. 4:16) together with each person being uniquely gifted in order to accomplish the mission of the church to both preach the Good News to all creation and to fill the earth with God’s glory.
Many pastors would never admit to being an isolated, island to themselves, but their words and actions would say otherwise. I’ve actually met people who claim that they encompass all of the 5 fold ministry gifts within themselves. It’s often communicated as Apostle “so n so” is also the pastor, teacher, prophet and lead evangelist of the house. You can obviously see that someone who is convinced of this deception probably doesn’t play well with others, much less leave room for legitimate gifts to work together with on a team. This concept is completely foreign to the Bible and must be rejected in exchange for true team ministry. The mission is not locked up within the individual, the power is found within the cluster.
Based off a book The 5 Dysfunctions of Team, by Patrick Lencioni, there are 5 elements that are essential for any team to function in such a way the accomplishes results. Each element builds upon the next, leaving one out of the equation will effect the whole structure. The first one being:
It all starts with a foundation of trust. There must be vulnerability and the ability to get to know one another and actually enjoy each others presence. Teams without trust will conceal weaknesses and mistakes from one another, hesitate to ask for help or provide constructive feedback. Its important that teams acknowledge one another’s strengths and weaknesses and walk in humility to ask for help from others who are strong in an area that they are not. Spending time together is an important component to building trust.
2. Healthy Conflict
When there is trust and safety, the opportunity for health conflict arises. Teams that engage in healthy conflict have lively and productive meetings, and minimize politics. Each member of the team must be listened to and heard by the rest of the team members. Healthy conflict can bring critical topics on the table for discussion and allow for problems to be solved quickly.
After healthy criticism is given, if trust and safety is provided, a complete buy in can come from the team to agree to a shared vision. Clarity of roles and responsibilities are vital in order to achieve commitment from a team. Many teams put off making decisions in a timely manner because the first two elements of team have not be accomplished, therefore they cannot make a commitment yet. A team that commits will allow for progress to be made, understanding they can learn from their mistakes and make changes when necessary.
Accountability to the objective of the team, not to a person. Team members must put aside personal agendas for the sake of the greater mission of the organization. A team that avoids accountability will create resentment among other team members who have higher standards of performance. It also encourages mediocrity and avoids deadlines.
A team that focuses on collective results is able to rejoice at the organization’s success together. The key word here is TOGETHER. The results are not the product of one single individual, but the collective synergy of the team co-laboring together. Who wouldn’t want to join and stay on a team that is able to see the project through and celebrate the achievement of such a team?
There is a big difference between being a part of a group, versus being a part of a team. Powerful teams are not developed overnight. Trust and safety within a team takes time, patience and risk, but in the end it can all be worth it. It’s especially worth it when your efforts are being combined in order to advance the goals of spreading the Good News of Jesus to all creation. There can be no greater mission worth giving your life to. If your church or business team would benefit from being coached in the area of team development or building a ministry team, please contact us. We are hear to help struggling churches become established and strong churches become equipped.