Recently I was in India and was asked to speak on the subject of Teams in ministry. I have never done this before and am aware that much has been written about teams by others. I was not sure that I could add anything. Nevertheless, as we prepare to close the Newfrontiers office in Hove at the end of this year as part of the re-definition of Newfrontiers for the new season, and the team that has worked here for many years will be disbanded, I realised that there probably are some things I have learned from which others could benefit. So here goes!
Team in the Bible
The word ‘Team’ is not overtly a Biblical word in the way we would tend to use it. It is used only once in the ESV – in the book of Jeremiah – and that is in the context of breaking to pieces ‘the farmer and his team (of oxen)’, hardly a model for what we want to accomplish (Jer 51:23)! It tends to be a word that we have adopted out of our exposure to sport.
Nevertheless, in practice we do see teams in the Bible, whether the Trinity, or the seven in Acts 6, or those ‘sent out two by two’ on ministry.
Often in our churches we use the word ‘team’ rather loosely. Sometimes it is just a gathering of friends (eg ‘Growth Team’ as the name of a home group) or those who work alongside each other without any particular interaction. Clearly more than that is implied . So with this in mind I am going to address the topic in the following way.
Using TEAM as a mnemonic there are four elements that are crucial:
Although we could consider the topic in this order ie development of the team followed by the flow of activity – Together > Equipped > Achievement > Mission – it is more helpful to work backwards since the shape and make up of the team should be determined by the Mission it is there to accomplish. So, we will begin with Mission which then implies there are things to Achieve. These require people who are Equipped and able to work Together. We often refer to the ‘upside down’ kingdom in the context of the Kingdom of God so I will, without apology, address this topic backwards!
Next time we will think about Mission.