Team Building 101

In ministry there are tasks, that if you get them right everything else becomes easier or unnecessary.  Team building is one of those tasks.  There are few things you can do that are more important than building a team.   When you get it right, everything else in your ministry gets better.

Think of it like dominos.  If you can knock down the team building domino it has a chain reaction that affects all of the other things you lead.

Do you wish you had more time? Build a team.  Do you wish you could get more done?  Build a team.  Do you wish you could take your day off without worrying about church?  Build a team.

If you want to get more done in less time, and have a greater impact, then you must use the following team building suggestions.

  1. Set Team Building Goals

Without a goal, what are you aiming at?  Before you can set a goal you must answer the following questions.

  • How many volunteers does it takes to run your ministry?
  • How many volunteers do you currently have?
  • Is your ministry staffed for growth or is it staffed for maintenance?
  • How many more volunteers do you need to add to take your ministry to the next level?

Once you know these answers, the goal setting can begin.  I set daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals for team building.

  1. Make Team Building A Priority

If something is important, you spend time doing it.  If I claim that exercise is important, but never spend any time doing it, is it really important?  If you want to build a great team, you need to invest the time.

  • Schedule time every week for team building:  Don’t let team building get sucked into the whirlwind of tasks and get pushed off, neglected, or overlooked.  There are few things that will add as much value to your ministry and church as building teams.
  • Incremental growth is the key to success: Take a small step toward your team building goals every day.  Think of it like gardening.  If you don’t till the soil, plant the seeds, weed the beds, continually water, you are never going to have anything to harvest.  If you want to have something to harvest you have to put in the work.  If you want to have a great team, you have to put in the work.
  1. Invite The Best to Join Your Team

If you are going to invest the time and energy in team building, you should go after the best people.  The people that are going to add the most value.  Don’t make assumptions about what other people are thinking.  Don’t say someones no for them.

Have you ever thought, “I wish Mike was on my team, but he is so busy running his company, I’m sure he doesn’t have time to serve.”  That’s silly, right?  If you want Mike on your team, schedule a coffee, meet with him, and tell him “why” you want him on your team and ask him to join.

Don’t assume he is going to say no.  Have confidence and fight for a yes.  If you do get a no, let him say no, don’t say no for him.

  • Go after the best people in your church: The emotionally healthy people.  The spiritually mature people.  Most ministries spend all their time going after low hanging fruit.  The emotionally immature.  The spiritually immature.  If you want to build an amazing team, it cannot be full of emotionally and spiritually immature people.
  • Create a culture where it’s an honor to serve on your team:  Don’t allow your team to be a place where people serve because they have to.  Don’t guilt people into joining your team.  Make it clear that you go after the best.
  1. Cast A Compelling Vision  

Can you articulate more than just “what” your team does.  Share a compelling “why”.  Make sure everyone knows “why” your team exists, “why” you want them.  If you want to create an amazing team culture, your team needs to know the “why”.

  1. Create A Team Building Process

Clearly define the steps a new volunteer will take to join your team.  You can read more about my process here. 9 steps to Adding Volunteers.

  1. Clearly Define Expectations

Make sure everyone knows your expectations.  If you are not crystal clear on what’s expected of your volunteers, how will your volunteers meet your unspoken expectations? You can read more about communicating expectations here.

  1. Build Influence and Identify Potential Volunteers

Look for opportunities to broaden your influence.  Volunteer to lead events that are outside your ministry context.  Look for opportunities to meet the emotional, spiritual, relational, and physical needs of others.  When you meet the needs of someone else, it opens a door to invite them to serve on your team.

If you lead someone to the Lord, or baptize them.  When they are spiritually ready to serve, whose team do you think they will want to serve on? They will be endeared to you.  Here are some opportunities to build influence and identify potential volunteers.

  • Lead baptism services
  • Make hospital visits
  • Substitute for small group leaders
  • Lead book studies
  • Participate in pastoral care
  • Join the prayer ministry

Take advantage of opportunities to build relationships.  Each new relationship is a potential volunteer for your team.  If you need more men, lead a men’s book study.  If you need more teens, volunteer to teach or serve in your student ministry.

  1. Understand What Is At Stake

Your ministries success rises and falls on your ability to build healthy teams.  For every new volunteer you add, your ministry has the potential to increase by six people.  If you want to grow your student ministry by 18 students you are need to add 3 more volunteers.

If your team remains in maintenance mode for to long your ministry will suffer.  It will affect your ability to accomplish the God given vision for your ministry and church.

If you want to get more done in less time and have a greater impact, than you must follow these proven team building strategies.

What Do You Think?

Which of the above-mentioned tips should you start applying today?  Leave a comment below!

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About the Author

Andrew VanDerLinden

Andrew is the Executive Pastor at Community Church in Eastern PA.

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