Pop quiz: Is it better to work as a team or to work alone?
If you are like me, you said it’s better to work as a team. It makes sense. When working as a team, we pull on different gifts and strengths, we gather different ideas that make the ministry better, and it’s more fun to work with others. After all, “collaboration” is a big word in our ministry culture these days.
What if I were to say that it is not always better to work as a team?
That’s exactly what some people say. And I think they are right. Sometimes, it is not better to work as a team.
For a team to work well together, in ministry, in business, or at home, there are multiple factors that need to come together. Often times, those factors are not in place, which leads to teams that are less than productive, or worse, can lead to a dysfunctional team
Here are 3 things that every ministry leader needs to make sure is in place when forming a team:
- Invite the right people on the team. Not everyone needs to be on the team. Not everyone should be on the team. As ministers, we feel a need to be inclusive and welcome everyone. It’s part of being a Christian. We welcome the stranger, the lost, and the sick. Yes, let’s welcome them. However, there is no need to put them on every leadership team in your ministry. The fact is that there are people that should never be on your team. For instance, the person who always creates dissension among the other team members or the person who always brings problems to you but never brings the solutions. These people slow team progress down and create disharmony.
- Be clear about the purpose and goal of the team. When the purpose of the team is ambiguous, the members find it difficult to get the job done. The reason is that they don’t know what the job is that needs to get done. The team starts working and working until they discover that they are missing the target. They are missing the target because they didn’t know what the target was in the first place.
- Regularly evaluate team progress. For a ministry team to function well, there has to be occasional reviews where you can track the teams success and work on areas that need improvement. One strategy for doing this is to conduct a short evaluation at the end of your team meetings. Was the meeting productive? What can we change for future team meetings? Another strategy would be to regularly stop and ask the question: are we moving in the right direction? Are we getting closer to our goal? If not, it is easier to adjust the strategy in the middle of the process than to wait until the end and discover that you were never on target.
I can’t just assume that if I put a team together that everything will work great. The team is not the answer to your ministry. The team with the right people, with a clear purpose, and with regular evaluations are what help launch your ministry to the next level.
Question: Have you ever served on a well-running team? What was that like for you?