My last posting on Teams was last year, at the end of November. Since then I posted a series of ‘one off’ blogs and also took a Christmas break. Now I would like to return to this series on ‘Teams that work’. But first I would like to talk about books.
I was greatly encouraged recently to be told from different sources how helpful my book The Poor deserve the Best is proving to be. I am aware that it is difficult to obtain this book at present as the Newfrontiers Resources are being reorganised and not taking orders at present. So if you do not yet have a copy (or of the accompanying publication Embracing the Poor, which is also available on Amazon) I would be very pleased to fulfil an order. Just write to me at the email address in the side panel.
Now back to the series on Teams. Since September 15th I have been working through a mnemonic of TEAM – backwards! So far we have looked at:
Mission – what are we trying to accomplish?
Achieve – are we hitting our goals?
Equipped – what skills and gifts are needed or represented on the Team?
Now we come to the ‘T’ – Together.
In the sporting world, where success is everything, winning teams are those that work together. To help us look at this topic in the context of teams working together in the church I want to explore the second chapter of Paul’s letter to the Philippians where he exhorts the church to be more like Christ.
In Phil 2:1 we find assumptions being made by Paul, although he expresses them conditionally; ‘if’. He clearly has the expectation that to Be like Christ (the heading to this section in my Bible) there should be plenty of Encouragement, Love, Fellowship, Affection and Compassion. These words define excellent characteristics of the atmosphere in which we would all like to be ministering, whether working together on some project or leading a church on its kingdom-advancing mission.
We all like to hear ‘well done’. In the parable of the talents (Matt 25:14-30) the master commends the servants who multiplied their talents and rewarded them with further responsibility and opportunity for investment. He did not just look at a balance sheet and comment on the ‘fiscal growth rate’. He recognised the need to affirm the person.
Let us be generous in our encouragement. But to make someone ‘glow inside’ is not a technique. Any good leader will look for the things that an individual is doing and bring genuine encouragement. Encouraging a team member in this way not only boosts his or her self-confidence and sense of personal worth but it also strengthens a team and makes it more effective. Any correction that may be necessary should be given only once the bridge of encouragement has been strongly established. The person then knows you have his or her best interests at heart.
Next time we will look at the other four characteristics which make up the atmosphere in which a team operates: Love, Fellowship, Affection and Compassion.