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11 – How to Design Church as a Rocking Organization


It’s impossible to have a healthy church without having a healthy ministry team, and that is as much organizational as it is spiritual. Just calling your key people a team does not make them a team.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-team-ants-work-logs-teamwork-image15772486 © Antrey | Dreamstime.com – Team Of Ants Work With Logs, Teamwork Photo

My friend Steve Raimo @4TheHouse, made a great comment about ministry teams on one of my previous posts.

“Churches and other religious organizations like to use this term to make themselves sound ‘relevant.’ The reality is they are still functioning with a hierarchy, operating with the notion that ‘one and only one person is in charge and makes the bottom-line decisions.’ If we could function as a ‘real team’ within our local organizational structure, we might be more effective, efficient, and relevant.”

This post is about ministry teams.

Questions of the day

Who are the people that make things happen? How do we work together as a team?

Making things happen

The team is one of 5 key organizational components.

You can have the other four organizational components (the core, the framework, good systems, and a unifying goal) in place but accomplish absolutely nothing without the right people to make things happen.

Our people represent our organizational capabilities to fulfill our God-given purpose.

Defining our terms

‘Ministry’ is serving others in the name of Jesus.

A ‘team’ is more than a work group. Teams pool their skills and efforts to achieve a common purpose.

Team ministry implies shared authority and mutual responsibility for spiritual and organizational oversight.

Ministry teams consist of identifiable positions, each of which has a role(s) and responsibilities. Paid staff, lay leaders, and/or volunteer workers can fill positions.

A still good 2000-year-old model

The term “loyal yokefellow” is used by the Apostle Paul to describe those who labored alongside him in ministry. He honored both named and unnamed “fellow workers” who “contended at [his] side in the cause of the gospel” (Phil 4:3).

The idea is they were pulling together as equals in a set direction.

Ministry is work but it is shared work.

Jesus also uses the metaphor of a yoke. He invites us to be yoked with him.

Contrary to the image of slavery this might have provoked for people in his day, Jesus assures us that he is “gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11: 29-10).

What a great concept for ministry teams!

Like a team of horses pulling a carriage, we each have roles and responsibilities within a set framework that is important to the other team members as well as essential to executing our common mission.

Even superstars cannot succeed alone

Baseball legend Pete Rose is credited with saying, “Baseball is a team game, but nine men who meet their individual goals make a nice team” (Keidel, 1984).

Likewise, a great ministry team will encourage individual performance but also make sure everyone is playing the same game and is committed to team results not personal glory.

Bottom line

It’s amazing to be part of a team that is both achieving results and a pleasure to work with.

Question: have you ever been part of a great ministry team?

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