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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 fathers
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
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.