By Doug Jividen

Recently, I was asked about my ministry journey that has stretched from Ohio, South Florida, planting in Montana, and revitalizing in Indiana. The question, “What elements were needed for these ministries to flourish?”, caused me to pause and think about the common thread that ran through each of these. Immediately obvious to me was the concept of TEAM.

In the early stages of our ministry journey, we focused on TEAM without understanding the importance of this simple concept. Even though we did not use TEAM effectively, we still saw many people reached, ministries grow, and a powerful community of believers engage together for the work of the ministry.

Many years ago, our Church Health Team Leader, Gary Bearce, asked if we could host a workshop called “Building Powerful Ministry Teams.” This was a workshop developed by NAMB and Pat McMillan, author of a wonderful book called The Performance Factor. As we walked through the study, I realized how much I did not know about the TEAM concept. This energized me to apply these concepts for the rest of my ministry.

What was the secret sauce of this workshop? Six simple evaluating concepts became profoundly clear.

  1. Common Purpose: Where are we going as a team? What is the goal? Is it clear, compelling, and common to all?
  2. Clear Roles: Do we know our parts of the team and how they interrelate? Do the pieces of the team provide for alignment in working together?
  3. Accepted Leadership: In leading others, do we recognize the importance of servant leadership: The more I serve others, the more others empower the leader to lead and choose to participate in the team? Are we leading towards Christ, and the task at hand?
  4. Effective Processes: In functioning as a team, we have defined our processes and mapped them to assess for success or for adjustments needed? Are we accomplishing the task? What needs to change?
  5. Solid Relationships: How do we relate to each other? What are the guiding expectations we have for each other to develop and hone our gifts and skills that God has given us? What guidelines do we need to have in place to play in the sandbox?
  6. Excellent Communication: How do we function in our communication with each other? Are we listening to each other or speaking at each other? Do we assume communication has taken place only to find that we did not communicate effectively? What would elevate our communication on the team and in our ministry?

The application of these six concepts were needed in every ministry of our journey, but early on, we didn’t know what we didn’t know. In later years, we used these elements to build the foundation of a strong, working team by assessing with these simple questions:

Are we doing what the Father has asked us to do?

Are we focused on perfecting the saints for the work of the ministry?

Are we accomplishing the Great Commission?

We learned the importance of evaluation and correction throughout our journey, so that our focus is sharp and clear.

Were we always successful? No, but to be a great leader one needs to be a great learner as well. We learned through what did not work, adjusted, and kept on serving.

We all need foundation in our lives. What is yours? The bedrock? Jesus Christ. Jesus did what the Father asked Him to do. Do what the Father has asked you to do.

John 5:19 English Standard Version (ESV)

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.”