Saturday, July 19, 2008

Effective Team Ministry

This is post 1 of 3 on the topic of Effective Team Ministry. To view a corresponding PowerPoint presentation as you read, go to: Effective Team PPT in a new window, enabling you to read and watch in side-by-side windows. Please note: this material was originally presented as a seminar for missionaries serving with Baptist Mid-Missions, which is based in Cleveland, OH. The material is copyrighted, but may be used with written permission obtained by writing: permission.

Slide 1 - Title Slide

Slide 2 - You're On A Team...

Many Christian organizations, including this one, are giving a lot of emphasis these days to ministering in teams. Some like the idea; and, of course, others do not. So right at the start, here are a couple important points to keep in mind as we frame the subject of effective team ministry.

First, every Christian is a member of at least one team. Those of us engaged in Christian service often belong to multiple and overlapping teams. For example, as a missionary, you are belong to a team called The Church, the Universal Body of Christ. You also belong to a similar team, which is the local church from which you were commissioned to serve. Then, when you joined this mission agency, you became a member of a world-wide team of missionaries who are serving in over 50 nations. You also became a member of a team that serves in a particular country or field. Many fields are divided into regions, so you may also belong to team on that level. Then, there also may be a team of people working with you in this mission to reach a specific city. Finally, a number of us work together as teammates with others in a particular ministry.

It's important to remember the reality of multiple and overlapping team memberships as we serve. Expectations, dynamics, and certain particulars related to team effectiveness tie directly to which level of team ministry is in view. Take, for example, the practice of team goal-setting. It would be cumbersome, to say the least, if people serving in Germany expected to have input into the ministry goals of others who are serving in a city in the mountains of Peru. These people might all be on the same team at the level of mission agency, but they're not on the same team level when it comes to the particulars of field, region, city, and individual ministry. So it's critical for members of multiple and overlapping teams to hone their expectations and practices appropriately to each level of team ministry.

Dynamics also differ depending on the level of team ministry in view. The basis of team compatibility at the macro levels will (and should) be far more general than the basis of team compatibility at the more micro levels. An individual team member might be somewhat incompatible with another at the field level, though sufficiently compatible at the mission level. Of course, at the ministry level, near total compatibility is required for effective team ministry.

Application and Discussion:

1. Identify the various ministry teams of which you are a part?
2. Have you ever experienced a problem with team effectiveness due to expectations or practices that were inappropriate for a particular level of team ministry? What happened? How might the situation have changed with expectations or practices more appropriate to the levels of team involved?
3. Read 1 Corinthians 12. Identify two or three expectations or practices among effective teams that would be appropriate at any level of team ministry.

Next post: Pitfalls and Advantages of Teams


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