Part of leadership is the continual development of others. This is as true in ministry staffs as in any other area of leadership. And this is true whether your team is paid or volunteer.
Some ministry teams develop a chemistry and camaraderie that make ministry itself seem attractive. Some ministry teams are downright unpleasant to serve on. The difference isn’t usually rooted in the personality of the leader so much as it is in the ability of the leader and the team to foster a team spirit.
So what qualities help build the members of a team and foster team spirit? Here are ten.
1. Biblical Convictions
Some people think of strong convictions as off-putting. The reality is that shared convictions are incredibly galvanizing. When two people share the same conviction from Scripture, it provides a strong point of unification that overcomes personal differences.
The important thing to remember about convictions is that they must come from Scripture. A team formed around its strongest member’s preferences will eventually disintegrate. A team formed around a passion for Bible truth will find themselves drawn together around shared convictions at the deepest level.A team formed around its strongest member’s preferences will eventually disintegrate. A team formed around a passion for Bible truth will find themselves drawn together around shared convictions at the deepest level. Click To Tweet
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. … That they all may 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 ministry teams are not built around productivity or accomplishments. They are built around a shared compassion for that which moved the heart of Christ—the souls of people.
And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things. (Mark 6:34)
It’s easy to start out in ministry with compassion but then, over time, to let our hearts slowly harden to the realities of Heaven, Hell, and the eternal souls of people. How do we fight this drift? I know of no better way than to purposefully find people who don’t know Christ and share the gospel with them. Do it individually; do it as a team.
Strong teams aren’t formed by passive attitudes toward the growth and wellbeing of the others on the team. They are formed by the kind of concern that leads team members to challenge one another to continued growth—in the Lord, in their personal expertise, and in their ministry fruitfulness.
This is part of what the entire local church is supposed to do for one another. And it is certainly what church staff teams should do for each other.
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24–25)
Team members that care only about themselves may be good at getting work completed. But they don’t contribute to the overall growth and fruitfulness of the entire team.
Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. (Proverbs 27:17)
We live in such a negative culture. The upside is that, in the midst of outrage, gratitude is all the more attractive.In the midst of a culture of outrage, gratitude is all the more attractive. Click To Tweet
Expressing gratitude to others on your team makes your team a place where people want to serve. Reflecting together as a team on the goodness of God and the victories He has given will draw your team together in shared gratitude to the Lord.
It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: (Psalm 92:1)
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
If there has ever been 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 clearly state biblical convictions without equivocating and without unnecessarily offending.
A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards. (Proverbs 29:11)
Discernment allows us to be alert to those who insert divisive arguments. It guards us against making foolish or fleshly mistakes. It holds us to being above reproach in how we handle finances, confidential information, and interpersonal relationships.
Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. (1 Timothy 3:7)
None of us have arrived. Thus, we must never stop learning.
Teams that maintain curiosity and teachability consistently expand their potential. Teams (or team members or team leaders) that stop learning decrease their future potential.Teams that maintain curiosity and teachability consistently expand their potential. Click To Tweet
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12)
7. Excellent Spirit
A spirit of optimism and faith can motivate even a small team to undertake great things for God. But a spirit of pessimism and criticism can undermine the joy of an entire team.A spirit of optimism and faith can motivate even a small team to undertake great things for God. Click To Tweet
I assume that the Old Testament prophet Daniel was competent in the government matters in which he served. But it was his excellent spirit that caught the king’s attention and made him a leader. It may sound trite, but attitude really does determine altitude.
Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. (Daniel 6:3)
The longer we serve in ministry, the easier it becomes to see people’s needs as an inconvenience to our agenda. Yet, for many of us, it was the needs of people that drew us into serving the Lord in ministry.
To care about others—including those on our own team—we must prioritize empathy. Do you sense and care when others are hurting? Do you notice when they are caring burdens? Reach out with encouragement and prayer. Strong teams bear one another’s burdens.
Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
The Bible word for respect is honor. Do you give honor to others on your team? Do you recognize their efforts? Show consideration to their preferences? Respond quickly to their questions? Let them know that you appreciate and value them?
Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another (Romans 12:10) Click To Tweet
Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; (Romans 12:10)
Humility ties in with every other trait in this list. A proud leader or team member can’t consistently express gratitude, remain teachable, show empathy, or encourage others. A humble leader or team member can.
Humility toward others comes as we first walk humbly with God. It is as we humble ourselves before Him that we receive His grace to minister to our own needs and give us the ability to serve others.
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8)
But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. (James 4:6)
Great teams aren’t born; they are developed. They don’t just happen; they are cultivated.Great teams don’t just happen; they are cultivated. Click To Tweet