I love team! A team is commonly defined as a group of people who come together to achieve a common goal. I am privileged to work alongside a group of likeminded people who are shooting at the same target. It has been written in a lot of books and stated from a number of stages that we “invest in what we love”. If this statement is true, then as leaders we must evaluate how we are investing in our team.
I am committed to making intentional investments in my teammates in three critical areas. This list is prioritized in the order of importance to me.
Invest in Spiritual Retreats
Our team takes two, day long spiritual retreats in a given year. This time is set aside to meet with Jesus, to be refreshed by Him and to hear from Him. This is not a time to transact business. This is an investment in the soul of my teammates.
Invest in Spiritual Checkups
One of our staff meetings each month is given to the spiritual development of our team. These intentional times have become “booster shots” that hold us over until our next retreat. These meetings are soul check-ups. They involve Scripture, sharing of ministry and family challenges. We conclude our time together by supporting one another in prayer. I have found this investment pays dividends for my teammates who make spiritual investments in others, but rarely find themselves being invested in.
Invest in Spiritual Protections
When Joel DeMott, our Executive Pastor joined our team a year ago, he required each of our teammates to have a spiritual mentor investing in their lives. A spiritual mentor is a person who, as he describes, is “not impressed by you”! This is often someone who is further down the road in ministry and spiritual maturity, who teammates can be vulnerable and transparent with. This person walks with us as a coach, guide, discipler and friend who has permission to point out the blind spots and rough edges in our lives. In addition to a spiritual mentor, Joel also requires each of our teammates to have a prayer team. This is a group of people who at the drop of a text message will seek the Lord on our behalf.
Invest in Vulnerable Leadership
I learned early in ministry that there is no benefit to pretending to have it all figured out as a leader. Allowing our teams to see our personal wins, personal losses and personal mistakes creates transparency among teams that is healthy. I guarantee the majority of high-level leaders want the teammates they oversee to be open and transparent with them, so why would we not model or lead the way? Too often leaders hide behind a mask they created that portrays the image they want people to believe. Reality is those images are next to impossible to live up to and at some point in our career will be exposed for what reality is. Leader, model vulnerability with your teammates! I have found that it creates a healing environment that allows our team to care and minister to each other.
Invest in Relational Environments
I have ten teammates and we know each other well. Our office is filled with laughter. We cry together. We celebrate together. We labor together. I found the more relational our workspaces are, the more work is accomplished. I have heard teammates say on countless occasions how much they enjoy coming to work. This is just one of the paychecks of our investment in the creation of a relational work environment.
Invest in Mission Alignment
In my time spent with the Relational Discipleship Network over the years, I have become more and more aware of how critically important it is to have relational, philosophical, theological and organizational alignment within the church. It should go without saying that if our churches are going to have these alignments, that our teams must first be aligned. Mission alignment is a vital team investment.
Invest in Ministry Opportunities
In my opinion, there are too many leaders who keep their team potential bound up for fear of failure or for fear their teammate may have too much success. I believe if I have hired well, then I must give my teammates the keys and let them drive the vehicle! If I have hired poorly and cannot trust my teammates to drive, then that is on me and not on them. Jesus modeled this with his disciples when he sent them out two by two and then regrouped to hear about their experiences.
Invest in Ministry Families
Leaders need to remember that our teammates have lives outside of their ministry role. There is often a spouse at home. There are children who need their parents’ attention. I try hard to invest in the families of my teammates by reminding them and myself that their greatest investment is in their homes. Leaders don’t make ministry demands so great that your teammates lose at home. I remind our teammates they need to be in the office enough to do the business of the church and outside the office enough to do the mission of the church. Part of our church’s mission is to have healthy, spiritually maturing families. We must want that for our teammates as well.
The order of my investment is strategic. It is very intentional. I want my teammates to be invested in spiritually. I want them to be relationally healthy. I want them to be given ministry opportunities where their gifts can be developed and shine brightly. I have learned that spiritually and relationally healthy teammates provide a better ministry return. Invest wisely!
by Chris Knight- Senior Pastor
Wakarusa Missionary Church