by Antonio Sims
There’s an African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” All of us practice team building more than you might think. Deciding where my family will go out for dinner requires a team effort. It takes collaboration and sometimes a little arm-twisting, but we eventually come to an agreement and off we go to the restaurant of choice.
Team building is vital. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit created the world together to give us a picture of partnership and shared responsibility. If they did not go at it alone, we should not either.
In the life of a church planter, team building is an ongoing process. It occurs before your first meeting to cast your ministry vision and it will continue throughout the life of your church.
Jesus demonstrates at least 5 stages in the team building process with His disciples. The stages are: The Invitation, State a Clear Vision, Define the Mission, Release to the Field, and Debrief & Assessment.
- The Invitation
A first step in team building is the invitation. Invite those you would like to participate with you on mission for God. In Mark 1, Jesus invites Peter and his brother, Andrew, who were fishermen, to join His team of disciples. We also find in Matthew 9, Jesus invites Matthew, the tax collector, to leave what he was doing to become a member of His team. You will be surprised by the people who are simply waiting to be invited. We all have this nudging-call deep down inside of us that awaits an invitation to something bigger than us.
- State a Clear Vision
People you are inviting need to understand what you want to accomplish. Jesus let His disciples know He was sent to preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God and to give them an understanding of the eternal hope they had in Him. The disciples were to tell everyone they could about this Good News.
- Define the Mission
At this stage, team members receive their assignments. Your team will need guidance on the tasks and strategy to reach your goals. Jesus told His disciples to go into all the world and make disciples and teach those disciples the things Jesus had taught them (Matt. 28:19).
- Release to the Field
Team members are equipped with what they need and released to do the ministry project. Jesus calls the 12 disciples and gives them power (He equips them) for their ministry assignment and sends them out two by two (Mark 6:7). What resources or knowledge would be helpful to the team in carrying out their assignment/task?
- Debrief & Assessment
This stage is important because this where your team gets better. You discuss what went right and what did not go so right. You celebrate your victories and learn from your mistakes. This can be empowering for your team to share their thoughts and perspectives to make improvements. In Luke 10:17-20, the seventy that Jesus had sent out to the field returned to share their experience with Jesus and to get His feedback. This an opportunity to coach and mentor team members while fulfilling your commission of making disciples that make disciples.
Lastly, pray always.