Plenty of ink has been rightly spilled on the topic on teamwork and staff dynamics.
In my experience, as well as in the experience of many others, this is one of the most important, yet difficult, aspects of Gospel ministry.
After reading many books and making many mistakes, here’s 3 simple, portable truths that I believe can help any team or staff in any context.
2. Play Together.
3. Stay Together.
Praying together helps keep our “eye on the ball” and the “first thing first.” We are not in ministry just to “get stuff done” but to see people come to know and grow in Jesus Christ. Praying together reminds us of these simple, yet significant priorities and our radical need for Jesus to be working in and on our lives and ministries at all times. Praying together also fosters a sense of community and a refreshing gust of “spirituality” to our office cultures that so quickly and easily decay into simply checking tasks off of lists. If you have ever worked on a church staff, you know exactly what I mean.
This was a mistake I made all too often in the early days of our first plant. Since I lean in a more “task” (rather than people) orientation, simply “hanging out” with my staff didn’t come naturally. In fact, it doesn’t come easily for many pastors I know. But, in my own experience, I have found this to be a highly undervalued and necessary piece of the leadership puzzle. It is often the moments of laughter around the barbecue that allow us to weather moments of tension in the boardroom. So task-types like me…it is important! Don’t blow it off because you have “too much to do.” This should be high on your list of things to do.
It is no secret that teams who stay together for longer periods of time tend to accomplish more. Granted, there are plenty of reasons why teams often can’t (disqualification from ministry, God calling a leader on elsewhere, etc.) but I believe we should plan toward permanence as much as we are able and as our resources allow. Obviously, the first two practices I listed should be primary in this process but other things like enough pay, benefits, vacation time, a job description that fits the team members gifts and talents, and making sure the team member understands how their position helps carry out the church’s mission are all key parts of the equation. I would also add that making sure a team member’s spouse is meaningfully connected to other staff spouses (and other members of the church) are also key factors in keeping teams together.
Is there more that could be said on this topic? Sure. If you’d like to read more on this topic, I highly recommend Larry Osbourne’s book Sticky Teams. But the goal here was brevity and clarity.
How is your team doing in each of these areas?