As church leaders, we cannot accomplish all that God has given us to do without a team of qualified people serving around us. We need others to work alongside, contributing wholeheartedly to the expansion of God’s Kingdom. Building the right team of people around us, however, is not always easy nor automatic. It takes time and effort, as well as some heavy consideration to get it exactly right. While, certainly, God can use anyone in any position to further His work, the effectiveness of a team can be heightened when the right people are serving together.
Creating the most successful ministry team starts with selecting the right people for the team. What’s important when selecting these people? Here are a few suggestions to get us moving in the right direction.
1) Shared Vision.
When building a team of people to work together, they absolutely must share the same vision for the work. They must want to work together, move in the same direction, under the same calling. They must see the leader as placed by God and be willing to follow. Church leaders must cast a compelling vision and then find supporting team members who know the end and are willing to commit themselves to that goal. They must be willing to make that vision their own vision for as long as they serve on the team. The best team members are willing to set aside their own agendas and their own personal projects for the benefit of the vision to which they have been called. Without this shared vision, there will be a lack of coherence on the team and perhaps a lack of expediency in achieving all that God has laid out before them. Full understanding of the vision and a commitment to it brings unity of mission and ultimately the realization of the team’s objectives.
2) Mix of gifts and abilities.
As we are taught in Scripture, the Body of Christ is made up of many parts and each of those parts contributes in unique ways to the Church. When selecting the members of your ministry team, it is vital to recruit a wide variety of people with different gifts, abilities, and experiences who can play their own distinctive role in accomplishing the shared vision. As church leaders, we have our own set of strengths and weaknesses, and we must find people who compliment and challenge us to join us in God’s work. A team without such diversity will be lacking vital components, which are crucial to achieving the most for God’s Kingdom. We must be willing to humble ourselves as leaders and select team members who can do things we can’t and who excel in ways we could only dream of. Surrounding ourselves with a good variety of people brings effectiveness to the mission and allows others to serve passionately in exactly the way they were created to serve.
3) Team mentality.
There is a popular and dated saying that goes, “There is no ‘I’ in ‘team.’” Nothing could be more true. When selecting team members for our ministry, church leaders must find people who are committed to working together as one cohesive unit in accomplishing God’s work. Those who prefer to work as individuals or who have a personal agenda only detract from the team’s overall effectiveness and threaten to derail the work of Jesus in His Church. Team members understand their role and embrace it enthusiastically. Team members know how to follow their leader, as well as encourage those serving around them. Team players understand that their role is vital, no matter the size or importance of their role. Behind-the-scenes players are just as important to the overall vision as those who are called to be “up front”. Team-minded people support one another and keep the overall vision in mind when making decisions and implementing programs. Without a team mentality, a group of individuals cannot succeed together. They must sometimes sacrifice their own wants and desires for the greater good of the entire team. Recruiting people willing to commit to teamwork is essential. Without this quality, the ministry may be doomed to fail.
4) Long-term Commitment.
In a world where upcoming generations are having a more difficult time committing to anything for more than a few weeks or a few months, perhaps the church leader’s greatest challenge in building his/her team will be finding people who are willing to commit to the vision for years, rather than months. In these times of uncertainty, it is definitely difficult to plan far in the future, difficult to predict what the days to come might hold. However, ministry teams need to have people who are in it for the long haul. Ministry teams need people who will remain with the ministry through good times and bad. They need to maintain the common vision long enough to experience personal growth in their own role, as well as see the ministry goals, both short- and long-term, come to fruition. While church leaders can never force a team member to fulfill a long-term contract, recruiting those who in good faith commit to remain with the ministry for a long-term season, can bolster the effectiveness of the ministry and reap huge rewards for God’s Kingdom. Finding those with a lasting sense of duty is essential.
Building a ministry team is the first step in accomplishing God’s mission for our churches. Finding the right people for that team is the first challenge.