How to Grow Christian Characteristics for Effective Teamwork

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effective Teamwork imageHow to Grow Christian Characteristics for Effective Teamwork

Christian characteristics can have a powerful influence for the development of effective teamwork in an organization or congregation. The message of Jesus was taught by His actions as much as His words.  How Jesus recruited and worked with people should never be ignored.  After all, His teaching of twelve ordinary men changed the world.

6 Helpful Strategic Plans for Effective Teamwork

Aubrey Malphurs in his book, Advance Strategic Planning, lays out 6 strategic plans for church teamwork and ministry leaders in the development of their congregations.

One of the most important aspects in preparing a church for health and success according to Malphurs is to be sure that the crew is ready for sailing. So how do you prepare the crew?

The first step is to secure the support of the empowered leadership of the church. This will call for the discovering of the attitudes of leaders within the congregation along with the pastor’s attitude. This is the starting point which leads to discovering the staffs attitude toward the process. The last group that is needed to come on board is the patriarchs and the matriarchs of the congregation.

The second step will call for the recruitment of a strategic leadership team. These people are those who care about the future of the church. They are concerned about the people in the community that surrounds the church. They are convinced that the church is the only hope for their surrounding community. The people that are part of this team have a deep desire to see great things accomplished.

The third step is to build strong communication within the congregation. Healthy communication builds trust. So, the question here is threefold. Who will communicate, how will they communicate and what will they communicate. Communication is key for success.

The fourth step is to assess the church’s readiness for change. This process will call for the leaders of the congregation to ask probing questions, address the emotions of the congregation and to develop and embrace a theology for change.

The fifth step calls upon the congregation to conduct a church ministry analysis. This analysis encourages the church to ask two basic questions: 1) how are we doing and 2) what kind of church are we? This type of questioning prompts the congregation to ask questions from two different perspectives: 1)What is? and 2) What could be?

The sixth step is to set reasonable time expectations for the planning process. According to Malphurs the process of time is difficult for many congregations. He says, “The best response to the question of time is patience. Patience is a virtue and thus a fruit of the Spirit. (Gal. 5:22)” (page 77)

Jesus’ 8 Step Strategy to Create an Effective Team

Jesus’ strategy with his disciples records a great example of a team ministry approach.

Jesus had a three-year plan for team development. His plan created behavior patterns in His disciples.  This taught behavior enabled them to carry on Jesus’ strategy and ministry after His ascension.  Here are three fundamental truths about the creation of Jesus’ teams:

  1. The development of ministry teams was not unique during the time of Christ.
  2. The scriptures teach us that before Jesus called his disciples, John the Baptist and the Pharisees also had disciples (Mark 2:18).
  3. While the calling and training of disciples were not a new concept, the way that Jesus developed his team was unique.

1.  Jesus’ Effective Teamwork Showed a Care for Others

A business, volunteer group or church will never succeed if the people who make up that team feel that they are unimportant.

Great leaders care for the people they lead.  Jesus made it clear that leading others without respect and appreciation grows into self-serving and manipulation of others.  The goal for any leader is to assure the team members that they are of value.

Jesus taught by his example that a real leader understands that the team they lead is made up of unique people.  This diversity produces amazing results.  If one member of a group feels alienated or brushed aside, that team will never see its full potential.

 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” ~ John 13:34-35

2.  Jesus’ Effective Teamwork Had a Purpose

Bill Hull observed that Jesus had four phases in his ministry through which he led the disciples.

  • First was the “come and see” stage;
  • Second, was the “come and follow me” stage;
  • Third, the “come and be with me” stage:
  • Fourth, the “you will remain in me” stage. (Bill Hull, Jesus Christ Disciplemaker, Old Tappan; Fleming H. Revell Company, 1984, pages 7-12).

Jesus gave practical instructions for his followers in the Great Commission. (Matt. 28:18-20)  The team that Jesus built had the purpose of spreading the gospel.

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.  When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:16-20

3.  Jesus’ Effective Teamwork With His Disciples Was Based On Service

The first disciples of Jesus lived in a world that was dominated by the powers of Rome.  Jesus taught his followers that true greatness was based on service and a willingness to sacrifice.  Anyone who desired to become great must first become a servant.  Jesus had an approach to leadership and teamwork that was unique. (Mark. 9:33-37)

When Jesus met a rich young ruler, he used the “follow me” phrase (Matt. 19:16-22, NASB).  The aim of the Lord was not for the young man to rid himself of all his wealth.  His goal was for the young man to

  • come and “follow Me
  • become part of the ministry team
  • show undivided loyalty and obedience

This action of “following” Christ is difficult for many people.  This young man found this obedience so hard to accept that he turned and walked away.  The call of Christ for undivided loyalty is a challenge.  Following Jesus is radically different from the world’s perspective.

4.  Jesus’ Effective Teamwork to Reach the World Was Activated By Sending Out a Group of People

Regarding how Jesus sent out disciples, Craig A. Evans indicates that the sending out of the seventy in Luke 10 should be compared with the sending of the twelve.  The sending out of the seventy was a team development strategy of Jesus to reach the world.

Some propose that the calling of the seventy was a plan by Jesus that reflected upon an Old Testament reference.  Moses appointed seventy administrators to help him in the book of Numbers. (Numbers 11:16,24, NASB)

As Jesus sent the seventy out, he sent them two by two.  He followed the strategy given by Moses in dealing with ministry issues:

“A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.” (Deut. 19:15, NASB)

According to this scripture, the testimony and support of a team can prove to be reliable and trustworthy.

5.  Jesus’ Effective Teamwork Was Based On Sharing Responsibility

Not only did Jesus teach his disciples how to work as a team, but he also gave his disciples guidance on how to handle the stresses and burdens of ministry.  In Matthew chapter eleven Jesus speaks of his “yoke.”  He said,

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29, NASB)

Yokes were often used on a single animal, but there were times when a yoke was placed upon the necks of more than one farm animal to share the task.

Christ calls for an investment of our lives that is eternal, but not solitary. He calls his disciples to work together.  The design of how Jesus taught and performed his ministry is a clear sign of team development long before the word “teamwork” was coined.

6.  Jesus’ Effective Teamwork Focused on Team Creation

When Jesus began the process of calling his disciples to follow him, he started with men who had something in common.  In the Gospel according to Matthew (chapter 4) the first two men that Jesus called were fishermen who also were brothers.  Their names were Peter and Andrew.  The next two recruits were friends of Peter and Andrew, who were also fishermen.  They were brothers whose names were James and John.

The act of Christ in recruiting the first disciples is a lesson in how important it is for any leader to begin with people who share common traits and values.  These four men did not have to explain themselves to one another, neither did they have to learn each others backgrounds.

Any time a leader is attempting to build a team, it is essential to have a core group of people who understand each other.  This creates stability before diversity and conflict come along.

Conflict will evolve in any team effort. Before Jesus recruited the other disciples, a stable core of disciples came together.

7.  Jesus’ Effective Teamwork Calls Different Types of People to Work Together

Jesus’ strategy also recruited a diverse group of disciples. Can you think of anyone more different from the first four fishermen than a tax collector for the Roman Empire?

Matthew, another recruit of Jesus, was different from the fishermen.

This action is an interesting step in the recruitment process of Jesus.  Not only did the fishermen probably have a dislike for Rome and the taxes they paid, they most likely did not like the tax collectors.  The fishermen probably had no need for Matthew. (Matthew 9:9, NASB)  Fishermen and a tax collector created an interesting combination of people.

8.  Jesus’ Effective Teamwork Was One of Recruiting a Productive Team of People

Much can be learned from Christ in the recruitment of a productive team.

  • First, begin with a core group that has something in common. (Peter, Andrew, James, and John—fishermen and taxpayers to Rome)
  • Second, allow diversity to be introduced to the team.  It will create new thoughts, ideas, and vision. (Matthew—tax collector for Rome)
  • Third, do not fear tension and conflict.  These behaviors can produce significant results if handled well. (Simon the Zealot—hater of Rome)

Strong teams are built upon diversity.  In fact, a group of people like this can do great things together.  It is all about working together even in our diversities.  A strong leader also places commitment to one another as a must.  Granted, members of the team may never become best friends but their loyalty and commitment to the overall cause is essential.  This takes place when the leader sets an example of allegiance and trust with every person on the team.

Jesus was not only the greatest Teacher known to humanity, but he also showed His wisdom and power by the way he recruited his team of disciples.

8 Reasons Effective Teamwork Collapses

Have you ever wondered why some teamwork efforts fail?

Why are some organizations productive, creative and successful and others are not?

There can be many reasons.

Devotion to a dead system could be one reason or it could simply be a fear of change.

Here are eight simple reasons why teamwork fails:

  1. Loss of Enthusiasm and Passion of  Team Members
  2. Demographic Changes of the Environment That Are Not Understood
  3. Fear is Dominant Over Faith
  4. Vision is Lost and Goals are Turned Inward
  5. The Lack of a Clear Vision
  6. Control Over Others
  7. Individualism Overpowers Teamwork
  8. Competition Destroys Unity

Does your organization, business, or church suffer from any of these characteristics?

Effective Teamwork Calls for Effective Leadership

What makes an effective leader? What creates effective leadership skills?

Harry Truman once said, “Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.”

This video shows twelve keys for the development of effective leadership!

 Effective Leadership Quotes

“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

“You do not lead by hitting people over the head — that’s assault, not leadership.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Never give an order that can’t be obeyed.” — General Douglas MacArthur

“Leadership must be based on goodwill. Goodwill does not mean posturing and, least of all, pandering to the mob. It means obvious and wholehearted commitment to helping followers. We are tired of leaders we fear, tired of leaders we love, and of tired of leaders who let us take liberties with them. What we need for leaders are men of the heart who are so helpful that they, in effect, do away with the need of their jobs. But leaders like that are never out of a job, never out of followers. Strange as it sounds, great leaders gain authority by giving it away.”— Admiral James B. Stockdale

“Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.”— General Colin Powell

“I am reminded how hollow the label of leadership sometimes is and how heroic followership can be.” — Warren Bennis

“Leadership is intentional influence.” — Michael McKinney

“The leader is one who mobilizes others toward a goal shared by leaders and followers. … Leaders, followers and goals make up the three equally necessary supports for leadership. — Gary Will Certain Trumpets: The Call of Leaders

“Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.” — Henry Peter Brougham, The Present State of Law, 1828

“A leader is one who influences a specific group of people to move in a God-given direction. — J. Robert Clinton

“All Leadership is influence.” — John Maxwell Injoy, Inc.

“Now there are five matters to which a general must pay strict heed. The first of these is administration; the second, preparedness; the third, determination; the fourth, prudence; and the fifth, economy.” — Wu Ch’i (430-381 BC)

“You cannot be a leader, and ask other people to follow you, unless you know how to follow, too.” — Sam Rayburn

Effective Teamwork Building Quotes

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” — Andrew Carnegie, American Businessman and Philanthropist

“Good attitudes among players do not guarantee a team’s success, but bad attitudes guarantee it’s failure.” — John Maxwell, Leadership Author and Speaker

“Many hands make the Light work.” — Leroy W. Jones

“What we need to do is learn to work in the system, by which I mean that everybody, every team, every platform, every division, every component is there not for competitive profit or recognition, but for contribution to the system as a whole on a win-win basis. W. Edwards Deming, American Statistician, Author and Business Consultant

“Teamwork: Simply stated, it is less me and more we.” — Unknown Author

“People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.” — Vince Lombardi, Famous Football Coach

“None of us is as smart as all of us.” — Ken Blanchard, Author

“I have seen that in any great undertaking, it is not enough for a man to depend simply upon himself.” — Lone Man

“No member of a crew is praised for the rugged individuality of his rowing.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson, Author, Poet, and Philosopher

“You only win when you help others win.” — Paul Zane Pilzer, Nobel Prize Winning Economist and Author

“People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.” — Vince Lombardi, Famous Pro Football Coach

“Teamplayer: One who unites others toward a shared destiny through sharing information and ideas, empowering others and developing trust.” — Dennis Kinlaw, Professor and Theologian

Effective Teamwork Building Takes Place With Gifted People

How do you define awesome team building? Gifted team members are needed for any team to be successful!

“Fred Smith states in Learning to Lead:

“One of the most important aspects of successful leadership is putting together a group of people to carry out the mission. Great athletic coaches know they must have talent to win, and therefore they take an active part in choosing players. Teams that just happened get happenstance results.”[1]

Healthy placement of each person on the team can be extremely powerful.   People are gifted for specific kinds of service and usually grow through their experiences when placed in the right position.[1]Fred Smith, “Learning to Lead” Christianity Today (1986): 93.

How to Boost Effective Teamwork

Is teamwork in the workplace and church a good idea?

Sure it is!

However, good teamwork calls for some adjustments for any organization. One of the first adjustments calls for each team member to understand their personality. If people are to work together to boost teamwork activity, then it is necessary to understand the great diversity of each person and define teamwork.

Effective Teamwork Definition

In defining teamwork, there must be an understanding of those who make up teams.  Some people were born to work on a team, and others find it unnatural.

The previous statement is not putting anyone down; this is simply a fact of life. Everyone is born with unique characteristics. In the creating of good teams, it is necessary to identify some personality traits that are counter to team development. Look at the list below and ask yourself, “Is that me?”

The “Super Ego” Factor

This Ego is “Super Man or Super Woman.” They have the ability to leap tall buildings with a single bounce. They can outrun a locomotive!

This Superhuman does not need the help of anyone else to accomplish the task or at least this is what he or she thinks. If you are “Super Human” teamwork makes no sense to you. It is hard to convince this person that there are others who can help.

The “Super Ego” is not much fun to work with, heck, they don’t need anyone else, and after all they have all the power they need.  This person simply does not understand the benefits of teamwork.

The “Isolationist” Factor

The Isolationist is the “Lone Ranger” of the work place. They do their own thing without asking the advice or input of anyone else. Teamwork makes no sense to this person. They might find one faithful and loyal companion along the way, however, working with the crowd makes them nervous and grumpy.

The “I’m Smarter Than You” Factor

These people are the Einstein’s of the group. They are so smart that simple communication with anyone on the team is an absolute waste of their time and energy. After all, why should a good brain be wasted on those who think in shallow terms? They seek out the high intellectuals, and anyone not in that camp annoys them.

The “Moody” Factor

This person is the Incredible Hulk. You just don’t know what their temperament will be. They are OK one day, really mad the next day. What causes these mood changes? Who knows! Teams suffer from this type of person because other team members simply don’t want to deal with them.

No one knows what “Hulks” are going to be like from one meeting to the next. The next time together with this personality could be a calm meeting, or someone tripped the switch of the Hulk and here he comes all green and ticked off.

The “That Was My Ideas” Factor

This person is the “Spoiled Brat” team member. Everything has got to go their way. If it doesn’t go their way out pops the pouty lip. These types of team members have such a severe case of being introverted that they simply cannot see beyond themselves. Their lack of teamwork is so severe it is very difficult to get this person to see the “big picture.”

Although these personalities may sound discouraging, a good team strategy can evolve with these types of people. One of the big challenges of any team leader is to recognize diversity as a plus, not a negative. It would be great if all members of the work team could learn to laugh at themselves.

Don’t take yourself too seriously or allow a certain personality to dominate the team. This type of action will certainly lead to poor teamwork development. The uniqueness of teamwork in the workplace can create a very powerful and productive workforce.

If a leader wants to boost teamwork, he or she must learn to laugh at themselves and others.  As a group realizes that they are not perfect but when combined are a powerful and productive force it will help answer a simple question, “Why is teamwork important?”

How to Recruit and Teach Volunteers and Effective Teamwork

Leading a volunteer team is a unique effort.  The teaching strategies to recruit a volunteer team is the first significant step.  Some leaders of volunteer teams feel defeated in the early stages of working with volunteers.

Busieffective teamwork and a Volunteer Teamness teams have somewhat of an advantage over volunteer teams in that a salary is included for those who work in the business.

Volunteer organizations must depend on the character and the desire of those on the team to participate. This dependency is not always easy to accomplish.

Many volunteer teams have experienced the loss of members in a very short time. Why does this take place? And why are some volunteer teams capable of keeping team members for a long time?

There is a very simple practice that can secure volunteer team members and retain them for long periods. That method is based upon the development of group relationships.

Teaching Strategies of the Great Teacher

One of the greatest teachers and leaders of teamwork development that humankind has ever known is Jesus the Nazarene.

When Jesus began recruiting his disciples, mainly a volunteer team, he had a unique strategy. Jesus began by calling two brothers to follow him, Simon Peter and Andrew, then he called upon two other brothers to follow him, James and John.

Not only were these two sets of men brothers (Simon was Andrew’s brother, James was John’s brother) but they also shared the same occupation. All four men were fishermen by trade.

As Jesus began his ministry on earth his teaching strategies of how he recruited his disciples was evident. To develop a strong volunteer team he began with men who identified with one another.  These four men also had a trade in common and were related.

Identifying With One Another is Key for Effective Teamwork

Many volunteer teams struggle in their organization because some of their team members do not identify with one another and do not get enjoy the company of the others.

A leader and volunteer organizations would do well to allow team members to help recruit other team members. This action is a sign of a good volunteer team leader: One who allows team members to recruit others to join the team shows lots of trust.

When Jesus began his ministry, he first found Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. The Bible says that Andrew after being recruited by Jesus found his brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah.” (John 1:41) Simon then came to Jesus with his brother Andrew and Jesus looked at Simon and said, “You are Simon son of John; you shall be called Peter.” (John 1:42)

What Jesus Did Is As Important As What He Said to Create Effective Teamwork

Many people pay close attention to the teachings of Christ but ignore the strategies of Christ. In other words, they pay close attention to what Jesus said but pay little attention to what Jesus did.

If you are in the process of trying to develop healthy and strategic teams, relationships are important. You cannot expect your volunteer team to be fruitful and productive if your team members do not share a commonality.

If the team members cannot relate to one another, there will be many times that disagreements, disharmony, and disunity will overpower the vision and strategy of your organization.

One Last Word About Effective Teamwork

As you seek to develop your team, a major step should be focused on recruiting and developing those who share things in common.

When a group of people who share common principles is brought together, then those of diverse opinions and ideas can be recruited to the team.  Jesus recruited a tax-collector who worked for Rome and a Zealot, who hated everything about Rome after he built his base of four fishermen. This strategy had a reason and a plan.  Here is another article that talks more about this subject of how Jesus recruited his volunteer team: Jesus and His Motley Crew of Disciples.

The teaching strategies of how Jesus recruited his team is well worth studying.  After all, He is the greatest Teacher known to humanity!

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