screen-shot-2011-09-15-at-1751532Let’s score some goals!
A team must know why it exists and where it is going. When a football team takes to the pitch there is no doubt in any of the players’ minds why they are together and what their intention is – to get the ball into the goal more times than the opposition!

In the last blog we saw, under the heading of Mission, the importance of a team knowing where they are going. But teams can take different forms. For example, two teams I have been involved in are 1) the Management Team for Together on a Mission, the annual leadership conference of Newfrontiers (the final one was held in July this year), and 2) the trustees of Church of Christ the King, the church of which I am a member. I lead both teams.

Event-based team
The TOAM management team had a very precise and time-bound responsibility; to arrange a conference to which thousands of leaders could come to be taught and equipped, and at which each individual was able to worship God and hear from Him in ways that would give direction to their lives. That team was formed for a very specific and closely defined purpose and, when the final conference had taken place, it was disbanded. There is nothing more demotivating than serving on a team that exists ‘because it has always done so’! It must live and have an on-going raison d’être.

Life-based team
For the trustees the purpose is less precise, though still focused, and is open-ended in terms of time. It exists to support the spiritual leadership of the church in an on-going way to lead the church well. The trustees achieve this by ensuring that all the legal and financial matters are in place and reliably monitored. They also serve the elders of the church by informally representing the membership. Sometimes those in leadership are not fully aware of what the members think as no one tells them! The trustees often have ‘an ear to the ground’.

Since this team has a longer life there may well be changes that are made in the membership over the years, either for reasons of a member moving to a new area or because some aspect of the trustees’ gifting needs strengthening. For instance, if the church has a building programme those with some form of professional skills in the building environment can add to the team’s expertise in being able to serve well.

Monitoring performance
By having a clearly defined mission or purpose it becomes easy to monitor performance and to know if they are achieving their purpose. As a colleague of mine, Adrian Willard, helpfully points out, there are two reins which control a horse. In the case of an activity or process those two reins are Communication and Finance. Both of these being in order and under the control of the leadership are a recipe for a happy and successful event or church.

Last evening I met with the church trustees. Much of our discussion centred on monitoring the finances – looking at Management Accounts, discussing next year’s budget and so on. We also highlighted the need to communicate more effectively to the church about some of the social justice ministries. Such monitoring of performance is a vital part of achievement. It allows mid-course corrections to be made before a crisis occurs. In football, the manager’s half-time talk fulfills this purpose.

Next time we shall see the importance of a team which is balanced in terms of the gifting and skills they represent.

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