Thursday, July 07, 2011

Building Team Commitment

As I began planning a workshop on team development, I contacted a number of pastors and church staff members and asked for observations about their own teams.  Here are two of the responses I received:
  •  “Our church staff team just doesn’t get along!”--A pastor in Georgia
  • “We just don’t seem to be on the same page.”—A church staff member in Tennessee
 Such responses indicated to me that an effective staff team requires mutual commitment to specific values and principles.   There must be a core around which the team members can grow, encourage each other, and serve their church or organization.   In the book Leading Congregational Change, I found this statement:  “Spiritual and relational vitality [provide] the life-giving power that faithful people experience together as they passionately pursue God’s vision for their lives.”  If a team is going to come together, they must build on a spiritual and relational core.

Spiritual vitality comes from several things.  First, there must be an acknowledgement that each member of the team is a child of God, gifted by God, and called by God to ministry.  Second, the team must be committed to times of corporate worship. This is most effective when team members take turns in leadership, offering some of their own insights and gifts to the experience.  Third, team members must pray for each other on a regular basis, both in team meetings and between meetings.

Relational vitality is not guaranteed simply by working together on common tasks.  The most effective teams are those in which members recognize their own strengths, their styles of communicating, and where they need help to be more effective.  The use of profiles like Peoplemap, DiSC or Strengths Finder can facilitate this discussion but they are only the beginning point for ongoing dialogue and learning.  Effective teams also make the time to fellowship and play, thus exposing other attributes of their personality as well as their interests.  Effective teams also “cover” for each other from time to time, reducing the stress that a member may be under due to personal or family circumstances.

The development of spiritual and relational vitality doesn’t just happen in a team but must be intentional.  This requires planning and commitment but the results are worth the effort.

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