Working together as a team is not the latest management fad, but springs from the heart of the biblical concept of leadership within the church. Check out Proverbs 11:14; 15:22; and 24:5-6 to see the wisdom of including a team.
Don’t forget the early church. In Acts we learn that the early church was founded under the leadership of TWELVE apostles. Acts 6 tell us about SEVEN deacons chosen to serve. Acts 13 teaches that the first missionary venture was a TEAM, Paul and Barnabas and Acts 14 talks about the appointment of MULTIPLE elders.
Paul writes to the Ephesians about the BODY with various parts closely fitting and firmly adhering to one another and in 1 Corinthians he talks about the diversity of gifts but the same Spirit.
So, how do you do it? Below are 8 tips for developing and working with a ministry team that I think will be helpful:
- Determine the Purpose of the Team. Ask yourself the “why” question. Why do we need THIS team? One of the reasons committees and teams get a bad rap is that many aren’t needed. If your team isn’t needed, disband.
- Gather the Right Team! Start with prayer. God is more concerned with our success than we are, so PRAY and ask direction as you assemble your team. Consider different personalities of those invited and don’t pick a bunch of “mini-yous.” Seek diversity that compliments.
- Commit to the team. Be concerned for and acknowledge the whole person not just the team member. Ask, “How can this person best serve the team?” then ask yourself, “How can I best serve this person?” Look beyond the task at hand and make a more thoughtful, deeper commitment to those on the team. Pray for your team members. Ask for spiritual insights into their needs. Make the team your priority and make sure they can see your commitment.
- Cast a Vision for the Team. “Where there is no vision, the people will perish.” (Proverbs 29:18). Develop your vision and share the vision and mission of the team. Clearly define the purpose and work together to create and achieve goals.
- Equip and Facilitate the Team. Provide specific training for specific understandings. Resist the “I’ll just do it myself mentality” because team members might not yet be equipped. Take an “always wanting to learn—always wanting to improve” posture about the work, the team, and YOURSELF. Lead by example.
- Empower the Team. Give things away to your team members. Encourage various team members giftedness and skillsets. Trust you team.
- Recognize the Team. Show Appreciation. Don’t take the credit for the team. Recognize unique contributions and give both private and public recognition.
- Don’t Kill the Team. Failure to do #1-7 will kill your team. Be flexible, seek opinions, and be intentional about evaluation.
Over the years Ephesians 4:12 has become one of my favorite verses. Develop your team and equip them to do the work of ministry to build up the body of Christ. I hope this verse become part of your ministry philosophy, too.
Bill Emeott serves as Lead Ministry Specialist for Lifeway Kids. A graduate of Mercer University and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Bill has served as a Kid’s Minister and currently teaches 2nd Grade Bible study.