No matter how great an individual player you are, a team can make you or break you. As a children’s pastor, I have worked hard assembling and developing my teams. My least favorite times in ministry have been on staffs where everyone did their own thing, not functioning as a team. A team can always accomplish more than an individual, but children’s ministers often insist on doing things themselves rather than build a strong team. I believe every ministry leader should see himself or herself as a coach and desire to build a super team.
There are four things a successful coach should instill in his or her team and expect from each player. They are:
1. BE ON THE BALL. Team players must be alert to what’s going on and able to assess the situation for themselves and the team. A team player puts the goals, needs, and good of the team first, rather than individual goals, wants, and needs. Each member of the team must value the team. Don’t ever think about quitting the team in hard times. Don’t let setbacks stop you. See problems as challenges and situations for your team to excel. Get after it—work it with all your might to make your team be its best.
2. GIVE A LOT. Let your teammates slam-dunk while you take an assist. Rejoice in the abilities and accomplishments of those around you. An excellent team player prefers for others to excel. The motto is, “It doesn’t matter who gets the credit.” Never complain, but seek opportunities to motivate others. Don’t be negative. You cannot maintain a winning attitude and be negative. Being positive is a choice! A team player compliments others and hands out praise. In ministry we can’t control every event, but we can control our responses to it. Do your best even if you go unnoticed. Always ask, “What’s best for the team?” Never be too busy to help others. The team that gives a lot accomplishes a lot.
3. OVER-COMMUNICATE. Let those above you know what’s going on. No surprises. Ever. Surprises hurt the team. Let those around you know what’s happening and what they should be doing. The military calls this the “need to know.” Talk with the team. Build a relationship with your teammates. Don’t take things personally. A good communicator is a good listener. Be determined to learn from everybody, not just your coaches. This includes learning from your own mistakes.
4. DO YOUR JOB. Do what you know to do. Team players understand their roles and do them with all their might. A valuable team player must possess knowledge of the game, continually being a student of the game. It’s imperative to know and follow the game plan. Know your job or position. Always be loyal to your coaches.
The best teams in the world review and evaluate constantly—not just the accomplishments but also the mistakes. Take blame, but never assign any. Never talk bad about teammates at any time. Never talk bad about the coaches or the front office. Share any and all victories together. Value your team and you’ll enjoy the value of teamwork first hand.
What other values should team members have? What values do you try to model for and instill in your team?