Part of leadership is the continuous development of others. This applies to ministry staff as well as to any other area of management. And that is true whether your team is paid or volunteer.
Some ministry teams are developing chemistry and camaraderie that makes the ministry itself attractive. Some ministry teams are really uncomfortable to serve. The difference is usually not rooted in the personality of the leader, but in the ability of the leader and the team to cultivate team spirit.
So what qualities help build team members and strengthen team spirit? Here are ten.
1. Biblical beliefs
Some people think that firm beliefs are disgusting. The reality is that shared beliefs are incredibly encouraging. When two people share the same belief in Scripture, it provides a strong point of union that transcends personal differences.
The important thing to remember about beliefs is that they must come from Scripture. The team formed around the preferences of the strongest members will eventually fall apart. A team formed around a passion for biblical truth will be gathered around shared beliefs at the deepest level.
The team formed around the preferences of the strongest members will eventually fall apart. A team formed around a passion for biblical truth will be gathered around shared beliefs at the deepest level. Click to Tweet
Consecrate them with your truth: your word is truth. … That all be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:17, 21)
Great service teams are not built around productivity or achievement. They are built around shared compassion for what moved the heart of Christ – the souls of men.
And when Jesus was come out, he saw much people, and had compassion on them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. (Mark 6:34)
It is easy to begin a ministry with compassion, but then, in time, let our hearts slowly harden the realities of heaven, hell, and the eternal souls of men. How to fight this drift? I know of no better way than to deliberately find people who do not know Christ and share the gospel with them. Do it individually; do it as a team.
Strong teams are not formed by passive attitudes towards the growth and well-being of others in the team. They are formed by the kind of care that leads team members to challenge each other to continual growth — in the Lord, in their personal expertise, and in the fruitfulness of their ministry.
This is part of what the entire local church should do for each other. And that is certainly what church staff teams need to do for each other.
And let us consider each other to provoke to love and to good deeds: not abandoning the gathering of ourselves, as is the case with some; than encouraging each other: and the more you see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10: 24–25)
Team members who take care of themselves can be good at getting the job done. But they do not contribute to the overall growth and fertility of the whole team.
Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the face of his friend. (Proverbs 27:17)
We live in such a negative culture. The good thing is that, in the midst of anger, gratitude is becoming more and more attractive.
Expressing gratitude to others on your team makes your team a place where people want to serve. If you think together as a team about God’s goodness and the victories He has given, your team will come together in common gratitude to the Lord.
It is good to praise the LORD, and to sing praise to thy name, O Most High (Psalm 92: 1).
Give thanks in all things: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
If ever there was a time when Christians needed discernment, it is now. We need restraint to know when to speak and when to be silent. We need wisdom to know how to articulate Bible beliefs without ambiguity and without unnecessary insults.
The fool utters all his mind, and the wise man keeps it until later. (Proverbs 29:11)
Distinguishing allows us to be wary of those who insert arguments that provoke divisions. It protects us from stupid or physical mistakes. This keeps us flawless in the way we handle finances, confidential information and interpersonal relationships.
Moreover, he must have a good account of those outside; lest he fall into shame and the snare of the devil. (1 Timothy 3: 7)
None of us arrived. Therefore, we must never stop learning.
Teams that maintain curiosity and teachability consistently expand their potential. Teams (either team members or team leaders) that stop learning reduce their future potential.
Not as if I had already achieved, or were already perfect: but I follow, if I can understand what I am also affected by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12)
7. Great spirit
A spirit of optimism and faith can motivate even a small team to do great things for God. But the spirit of pessimism and criticism can undermine the joy of the whole team.
I assume that the Old Testament prophet Daniel was competent in the state affairs in which he served. But his great spirit attracted the king’s attention and made him a leader. It may sound banal, but attitude really determines height.
At that time this Daniel was dearer than the president and the princes, because he had a great spirit in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole kingdom. (Daniel 6: 3)
The longer we serve in the ministry, the easier it becomes to look at people’s needs as an inconvenience to our agenda. Yet, for many of us, the needs of the people have drawn us to serve the Lord in service.
To take care of others – including those on our team – we must prioritize empathy. Do you feel and worry when others are hurt? Do you notice when they are a caring burden? Reach out with encouragement and prayer. Strong teams bear the burden of each other.
Carry one another’s burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6: 2)
The biblical word for respect is part. Do you honor others on your team? Do you recognize their efforts? Pay attention to their preferences? Quickly answer their questions? Let them know that you value and appreciate them?
Be kind to one another with brotherly love; in honor of preferring each other; (Romans 12:10)
Humility is associated with every other trait on this list. A proud leader or team member cannot consistently express gratitude, remain instructive, show empathy, or encourage others. A humble leader or team member can.
Humility toward others comes when we first humbly walk with God. As we humble ourselves before Him, we receive His grace to serve our own needs and give us the ability to serve others.
He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord ask of you, but to do righteousness, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6: 8)
But he gives more grace. That is why he says: God resists the proud and gives mercy to the humble. (James 4: 6)
Great teams are not born; they are developed. They don’t just happen that way; they cultivate.