Building Successful Teams – Part I

TeamYou may be wondering what makes this article about teams important for you to consider when you have read so many others.  Why yet another message about team-building? And what made the teams I started during the course of my work worth analyzing? What made them successful? I can answer the last question quickly – it was God!  I look back in awe at how He used me in leadership. Answers to the other questions will require a little more time. In this four-part series, I want to talk about four different kinds of teams and the goal of each.

First, we need to consider how we can measure the success of a team-building effort. To me, success can be measured by considering two elements: the spiritual growth of each woman on the team, and the bond that develops between the women as they work together.

I received my direction from this verse:

1 Peter 1:22 (NIV) – “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.”

I believe that the first goal of a team leader is to know and love her team before she asks that team to serve other women of the church. How can we minister and love each of those women deeply from the heart if we do not begin with the team God has given us?

My objective is not to give you a step-by-step plan of action, but to motivate you to think outside the box about your own plan.

  • Learning about them taught me how to really love them. I know all too well that when women receive the call to lead, we just want to start doing service activities, but for the first four months, all I did was meet with the team once a week to go deep into each of their lives to discover who they were and what their dreams were. Each week I gave them an assignment for the next week. These were some of our assignments and discussions:
  1. Tell me when and how you met Jesus.
  2. Make 2 lists. First list what acts of services bring you joy; then write what things you just dread doing.
  3. I told them about my dream of having a team I could share my spiritual journey with, a team that would feel the same way I did about the women of our church.
  4. We talked about what it really means to love each other deeply from the heart.
  5. We tried to answer the question, “What would that kind of love look like in our church?”
  • Intentional love for others will create an atmosphere for the Holy Spirit to direct your goal for this time in your church.

At the end of the four months, after spending much time in conversation, much time in prayer, much time sharing meals and lots of laughter, God had given us our direction. We began in this way:

  1. The name of every woman in our congregation was given to one of the team members. We were a team of five women. We wrote each person a note asking how we could pray for them. I had no idea how much this would impact the women of our church. Excitement was in the air. It was a very good first step to show we honestly wanted to serve and care for our sisters in the church. Our church membership included 230 ladies.
  2. A Mentoring Ministry enlisted the participation of the majority of the women.
  3. My Brother’s Keeper was a ministry for women who needed help with food or cleaning house after a death in the family or hospital stay.
  4. Bible Studies were well-attended at the church, and fifty more women were involved in study at a community center.
  5. Barnabas Baskets were given to women who needed particular encouragement.
  6. Food Ministry was supervised by our very own Miss Susie Home Maker, who was on the spot with her helpers to provide whatever nourishment was needed.

Love each other deeply from the heart. That was our goal, and it was reflected in each ministry.

I hope you too will be inspired to teach your women 1 Peter 1:22 (NIV) – “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.”  (I also used this verse when writing Heart Friends, published by LifeWay Christian Resource.)

May our Lord bless each of your teams and your ministry, and may we all bring Him glory. I hope you will look for Building Successful Teams Part II.

Blessings,
Shirley

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