July 30th, 2014
One of the most important facets of local church growth and success is the embracing of teamwork. Great churches are those where a large group of people have covenanted together to play team ball. Sometimes we could make the call without the help of others. Sometimes we could save everyone the hassle and fly solo. Sometimes however, this is not the case. Being a good leader does not necessarily make us a great team player, even when we need to be. Some of the best leaders in the church whom I know personally are somewhat difficult to work with and for, and I would include myself in that assessment sometimes.
Are you a good team player? Do you have to be the big fish in a little pond, or are you willing to be a good team member, even if it means you are a little fish in a big pond? The size of the success you and I get to be a part of is dependent upon how well we can play on a team. What could we offer the people on our team that would help us accomplish the Lord’s mission together? I truly believe that some focused attention in a few areas will result in exponential fruit. So what should our team expect from us?
Character matters so much in teamwork. Our talent and our charisma will only take us so far. We cannot be all talk; our character must be rock solid. Having character does not mean we are flawless. Character means we are faithful and dependable. We do not miss church. We do not take shortcuts. We can be counted on. Pastors and ministry leaders ought to model a way of life and a level of integrity worthy of being followed. That is such a serious responsibility. Character must be a measure of our success. Without godly character, we ultimately fail to honor God.
We should fervently want our lives to be lives without concealed cracks. I do not want to paint over flaws, hoping the cracks will never be exposed. The very idea that we would try to hide character flaws and secret sins proves that we often measure success by what people think about us rather than by what God thinks about us. This should hit us all very hard! Character is a life without concealed cracks.
People do not care what you know until they know that you care. This is so true in teamwork. With so much on our plates, we often do not show our love and support for others. Our tendency is to value excellence in our project over the needs of our team. Our tendency is to use people to get ministry done. The great temptation for those of us who are highly driven is to overlook the personal lives of the people on our teams and focus only on the contribution they make to the team. In so doing, we fail to love and care for them the way they deserve. The result just might be a wake of destruction left behind us, while we forge ahead to change the world for Jesus.
The best way we can show we care is to strive for accessibility. Accessibility is one of the key ways we can communicate care to our team members. Overcrowded agendas often mean leaders stay behind closed doors or stay booked with appointments much of the time. This makes us largely inaccessible to our co-workers. People need to know they can call us, email us, or get ahold of us, and that it will not be viewed as an interruption.
Nothing is more important to teamwork than clarity. We do not intend to, but we often focus on our vision to the crowd and neglect to reveal that vision to our team. We wrongly assume they just “get it.” Our team deserves clarity about both our vision and our expectations. How can I hit the target if I do not know what it is? Mapping out distinct goals and setting definitive deadlines gives everyone a clear understanding of what the expectations are.
Passion and authority—these are the things Jesus brought to His team. To many, Christians are complainers and do not live or lead with conviction. We must be passionate about what we do. We need to let our team members know that we love them, the Lord, our church, and the task that is before us. They need to see us sitting on the edge of our seats in meetings and planning sessions as we discuss the mission and future direction of our ministry. I love legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi’s quote, “Either you get fired with enthusiasm or you will be fired with enthusiasm.” That will sure help our teamwork!