When Does a Church Become a Team?

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Church Teamwork

Becoming a team is difficult and takes time. Pastors have a difficult time working in teams. They tend to be “lone rangers”, thinking that they can do a better job than those in the congregation; therefore, they shy away from forming teams.

According to Jim Herrington, Mike Bonem and James H. Furr in their book Leading Congregational Change, a team is “A small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.” (pg. 128)

Recently I conducted a seminar with 5 pastors concerning Team Building and Team Learning. One of the sessions dealt with the examination of how Jesus built His team of 12 and how it took Him 3 years to build that team.

Jesus is the best example of leadership so we need to see how He did it. All 5 pastors I worked with were asked to form a team of 5 to 7 leaders from their church who would become their vision/leadership team. They were to apply what they learned in the seminar with those team leaders.

Here are the basics of the training:

A Team Becomes a Team When:

  1. there is an open trust among the members
  2. there is passionate debate around issues of conflict
  3. when there is buy-in, clarity and alignment concerning the mission and vision of the church
  4. when the members of the team hold one another accountable regarding performance; and
  5. when there is focus on results not on egos.

I then had the 5 pastors examine the team Jesus brought around himself and asked them to answer 6 questions:

  1. Did the 12 become a team and when?
  2. Did the 12 have trust issues?
  3. Did the 12 have conflict among themselves?
  4. Did the 12 commit to Jesus’ mission and vision and when?
  5. Did the 12 hold one another accountable?; and
  6. Did the 12 stay focused on results?

This simple yet direct guidelines can enable congregational leaders to come away with a better understanding of team ministry in the church.

How is your church doing in developing strong leadership teams?

Harold Hambley

Who is Harold Hambley?

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