Wednesday, December 3, 2008

This is post 4 of 4 on the topic of Effective Team Ministry. If you wish to start with the first post on this study, go to the post that's dated July 19, 2008. 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.

Slides 8-18 - Ingredients of Teams

So what makes a team a team? And how do these ingredients factor into a team's effectiveness?

Keep in mind that Christian "bodies" are everything that teams are, and more. But let's begin by identifying the ingredients that all teams share, regardless of whether they are Christian or not.

The first ingredient is shared vision. Noted author and church consultant, Aubrey Malphurs defines a vision as "a clear and compelling view of the future." Others refer to vision as "a preferred future" or "desired destination". Effective teams will invest in the time and energy it takes to develop and communicate a shared vision.

Two other ingredients are shared goals and shared resources. Goals refer to the objectives or endpoints to which teams direct their efforts. Goal research has demonstrated that having goals is better than having none. Then, to be effective, goals should be clear, realistic, and measurable. Shared resources refer to both the tangible and intangible means of the team's members, either as individuals or as a group.

Yet another ingredient of effective teams is shared interaction. One of the most important kinds of interaction for teams to share is something we refer to as "meta-communication." This involves communicating about communication patterns and processes. At the top of this list are patterns and processes focused on problem-solving techniques and conflict management. My experience as a consultant has taught me how important it also is for ministry teams to engage in shared interaction informally; in other words, in times and places, and for reasons that are not work-related. The focus of this kind of shared interaction is relationship-building.

Two additional ingredients of teams are specialization and interdependence. In all teams, we find a variety of both formal and informal roles. Formal roles refer to those that are officially adopted. Informal roles are those that team members come to play by virtue of their personality, interpersonal relationships, capacities, or skill-sets. For example, almost every team has someone who plays the informal role of team comedian. Interdependence refers to the potential teams have to make a synergistic impact by virtue of their making effective use of their diversity and specialization.

Finally, Christian bodies or teams are blessed with two additional ingredients: life and the presence of the Holy Spirit. The presence of the Holy Spirit refers to the influence that God Himself brings directly to team dynamics, decisions, and effectiveness. Life refers to the ability that Christians are given to respond to God's influence and presence. Without Christ, people are dead in their trespasses and sins; but, through faith in Christ, people and the "bodies" they form are made alive (see Ephesians 2, 1 Corinthians 12).

Discussion and Application:
1. Study what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12 about the Church as a body. Which statements underscore the ingredients of shared vision, shared goals and resources, shared interaction, specialization and interdependence? Which underscore the ingredients of life and the presence of the Holy Spirit?
2. What difficulties might someone experience working on a team if he or she is accustomed to working solo or more independently.
3. Are the attitudes and behaviors of servant-leadership related more to formal or informal roles? Explain.
4. Using a team you are on as a point of reference, analyze its effectiveness in terms of shared vision, shared goals and resources, shared interaction, specialization and interdependence, life, and the presence of the Holy Spirit. What strategies for strengthening your team in these areas can you think of?

Next post: Characteristics of an effective follower.


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