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What does it mean to build strong "ministry teams" as the foundation for a solid ministry?

We believe that "as the leaders go, so goes the ministry." We put a high premium on equipping, enabling and enlarging our leadership team because our ministry will ultimately rise or fall based on the caliber of leaders that are developed within our ministry.

Throughout the history of Israel, the people were either blessed or cursed based upon whomever happened to be king, judge, or prophet at the time.

Consistently God has chosen to use teams of people to accomplish His purpose. David, the giant killer, had his "mighty men of valor." Moses learned to delegate to leaders of 1000s, 100s, 50s and 10. Jesus had his team of disciples. Paul traveled with a missionary team.

Building Ministry Teams:

To put it in today's terms, we are putting together a "farm system" for the ministry teams. In baseball, it is the "farm system" approach that provides the opportunity for talent to developed at every level of individual player's abilities. A ministry that follows this example will organize the ministry in such a way that people can develop ministry skills according to their unique spiritual maturity and capabilities. People are then able to prove themselves faithful in the little things before they are entrusted with the much.

The leadership team is a model for our congregation of what it means to function in unity and harmony. We want it to be evident that we are unified in our vision and on the same page in the playbook.

People should know that everyoen on the leadership team is seeking to love and care for one another. Jesus said a housed divided against itself will not stand. If we are nothing but a bunch of independent spirits trying to force individual agendas, we won't accomplish anything that pleases our God.

We use the term, "push-pull" to describe our commitment to teamwork in ministry. If we are competing and pushing against one another we cancel each other out. Like using a big manual two person saw, everything works best when we are cooperating with one another. When one pulls the other pushes. When one pushes the other pulls.

The lead pastor seeks to direct people into the various ministries of the church. In essence he is pushing people to get involved. The various ministries are actively pulling people in. Then as people become active in the subministries of the church, those ministries are actively supporting the preachng ministry of the church by making sure that everyone is attending the worship services adn heading from the lead shepherd.

Jesus modeled Teambuilding

Jesus call was for the disciples to be with him! "With" is a big term! Jesus was putting a team together who would continue to function when he left the earth.

Billy Graham followed Jesus's example and in his wisdom made a big decision early in his ministry. He chose to build the Billy Graham Evangelistic team. He knew the principle of the team concept of ministry. When many other evangelists have fallen by the side, Billy has come through unscathed. Why? Because he has maintained an accountability with the other men on his team. They are friends! Cliff Barrows, and George Beverly Shea have been with Billy for years!

They have a policy that there are to be no women on the floor that they use when on crusades. Not even a cleaning lady! Why? Because they desire to be above approach! Squeaky clean. There are people in this world who are so set to discredit Billy, that they have gone to the extreme of planting a naked lady in his hotel room with a cameraman waiting around the corner for him to open the room door and have the woman jump out. Talk about evil!

Billy knew the value of the Scripture that says, Ecclesiates 4:9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:

  • Ecclesiates 4:10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
  • Ecclesiastes 4:12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

The ministry is a team sport! We have to learn to ask people to play on our team and help us win it all!

Pastor Yaeger - "I have never been afraid to ask someone to do something in the ministry because I am not asking them for me but for the Lord.

D.L. Moody - "I would rather put a thousand people to work than do the work of a thousand people.

Illustration - Get some thread and use it to demonstrate the principle of strength in numbers by wrapping it around a volunteers fingers once, and see how easily the thread can be broken. Then wrap it around several times and see how strong that thin thread can become when it is multiplied. Tiny, thin thread can be very very strong when it is woven into a rope!

Recently when Barry St.Clair was out to speak for us, Marvin and I asked Barry if it was his impression that many of the Youth Pastors who are looking for a church to go to are asking the wrong questions. They want a big ministry so that they can do big things for God, when they should be looking for a solid Ministerial Staff team that they can work with for life. Barry agreed that often God gives guys what they want, but it is not what they need. They would be far better off looking for a Pastor who is a team player and not some Prima Donna.

Early in my life I learned the importance of team effort. If I have accomplished anything in the ministry, and if there has been anything that has been rewarding, it is the team of people who have joined with me in the work!

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

Why is this principle so important?

Matthew 18:18 "I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. MAT 18:19 "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.

It prevents us from becoming so self-centered! It is designed to help us run things through the grid of having others agree with us as to whether on not we need it! How do I organize the ministry in such a way that I am caring for my leaders?

In the past, too often, once people get into a position of leadership they get left hanging. We don't pay any attention to them until something goes wrong. We lead from a crisis management posture. Whoever has the biggest crisis demands my attention. This is a dead end approach both for the followers as well as for the leaders.

We must learn to be pro-active and not just re-active in the investment of our time and resources. How can I care for and disciple and oversee the leaders so that they are healthy and able to assist me with the task at hand.

How can I build into leaders in such a way that they become my primary focus as they do the work of the ministry? How can I win the battle of the tyranny of the urgent where the urgent things that are screaming at me drown out the important things in live. How can I build a team, and continue to build it over the long haul to be a high performing team to the glory of God?

It is not good for man to be alone. True in marriage and in the work as well.

Illustration: The need to have a friend watching your back side. I learned from practical experience at a College Winter Camp as we played Paint Pellet Warfare that Rambo does not last long in real warfare. Anyone who stands up and runs around shooting at people from all angles soon become a dead Rambo very quickly! There is a major advantage in having someone to watch your back side. To fight in such a way that you are a team, and you therefore have eyes in the back of your head. A partner who is committed to your success

It helps to have someone who is committed to you standing at your side. Like the time that the Lone Ranger and Tonto were surrounded by an entire tribe of Indians who were preparing to slaughter the two of them. They had survived many life threatening experiences in the past, but this one looked worse than any jam the two had ever faced. In desperation, the Lone Ranger turned to Tonto and said, "what are we going to do to get out of this mess Tonto?" To which Tonto replied, "what you mean 'we', white man?"

KEY ISSUE - How can I build high performing ministry teams? How can I build accountability into the structure?

Some of us try to carry the load as if we were "omni-competent" Many churches are looking for Jesus to hire on their Ministerial Staff, and He isn't available. However the job description reflects nothing less.

I have found that transitioning from being a Youth Pastor, to being a Senior Pastor has not been much of a transition at all! Any youth Pastor worth his salt must be able to build a team of adults around him to carry out the ministry of discipling students. The key ingredient is the team. When one moves from being a Youth Pastor to being a Senior Pastor, the dynamics of building a team do not change, through the purpose and task does change.

Too often when a church is considering hiring a Children's Director, the thought is to hire someone who is good at working with the kids, when a far more important question is, "Can this person work with and lead adults." We must have people who are capable of building a team of adults to carry out every ministry of the church. Building a high performing team of people who take discipleship seriously is of highest priority for pastors.

Elisha knew the importance of being knit together with another:

2 Kings 2:2 Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay here; the LORD has sent me to Bethel." But Elisha said, "As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you." So they went down to Bethel.

Ruth knew the value of a Godly relationship with Naomi when Ruth replied,

"Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me." (Ruth 1:16,17)

Spending time "with" leaders "in" ministry is key to building a team for the long haul. What are you doing, that you could ask someone to come alongside you, so that you are multiplying your efforts? Always ask, "who could I take with me?"

The average burn out rate for people who serve as volunteers in youth ministry is 4 months. These people give until they have nothing left to give! There is rarely anyone mentoring them, and building into their lives.Conclusion: What are the hang-ups that prevent you from entrusting the ministry to people? Are you the lone ranger trying to make it happen on your own?

Probably the thing that brings me the greatest joy is serving the Lord with a team of people who want to tear down the gates of Hell! There is nothing like getting in the battle together and knowing that we accomplished something great to the glory of God.

Paul knew the importance of choosing who to spend time with!

2 Timothy 2:2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.

Proverbs 27:6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.

Moses and Joshua

Exodus 33:11 The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.

Moses knew the importance of the presence of the Lord! Just as Joshua would not leave the presence of Moses, Moses would not leave the presence of God!

Exodus 33:15 Then Moses said to him, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.

Moses would rather stay in the wilderness with the Lord than enter the promised land without it! Awesome! There is nothing more important than the presence of God!

A while back one of the gals who used to work with us on Youth Staff in Stockton gave me a call. She was looking for a Youth Pastor for their church in Elk Grove. The thing she saw as a high priority was a couple who were in the ministry together. She commented how much she missed the awesome times we had together as a Youth Staff! She said, "we didn't realize how great we had it till it was gone."

This week another couple called from New York who used to serve with me in the ministry, asking for names of youth pastors to contact for their church, again wanting the team aspect that they enjoyed previously. Once they tasted the benefit of serving together on a team, they long to live that way for the rest of their lives.

1 Samuel 22:1-2 David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. 2 All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him.

David knew what it meant to build men into mighty men of valor! These men who were in debt, discontented, and discouraged, were the ones God gave him in the wilderness while he was on the run. He had nothing to offer him, but himself! These men became David's mighty men of valor later in history. It seems that most people want to inherit Godly leaders, but few are willing to take people who are in distress, in debt, and discontented in order to turn them into valiant soldiers to Christ.

©Stan Lubeck www.stanlubeck.com Email