208 – Classic Issue: The Value of a Team
I know that when you are the president of a ministry, you are supposed to be an expert. But recently I was involved in an episode where I sure didn’t feel like much of one.
My wife and I purchased one of those “pre-fab” pieces of furniture – a shelf for our bathroom. She went out to run an errand, so I decided to put the furniture together to surprise her when she returned.
It happened on about the seventh step. I was holding one piece with my left hand, had a screwdriver in the other, was pushing a second piece up against the first with my shoulder, holding a screw in my mouth and balancing the whole thing by leaning it against the wall – when suddenly a large piece slipped and the pieces began falling to the floor. I was able to slow the fall enough to save it from any major damage, but it became quickly apparent – it would be almost impossible for me to put this furniture together by myself.
The same thing is true in leadership.
We have team based leadership at Man in the Mirror. I both love it and hate it. I “hate” it because I often don’t get my way. Believe it or not, people don’t just do what I want because I’m the president.
I love it because what we end up with together is so much better than what I would have done on my own. It takes a little longer; it’s messier; it can be frustrating; but the best ideas win and God uses everyone’s gifts to help us get where He wants us to be.
This is not Pat Morley’s ministry. This is not David Delk’s ministry. It’s God’s ministry, and He gave us a team to carry it out.
In the same way, you need leaders by your side who can help you become more than you could ever be on your own.
Four Reasons You Need a Team (and Four Reasons Why a Team Needs You)
In the first chapter of Genesis, at the end of each of the first five days of creation the same phrase is repeated – “It was good.” That’s followed by “It was very good” at the end of the sixth day after the creation of man.
“It was good.” “It was good.” “It was good.” “It was good.” “It was good.” “It was very good.”
So it’s a huge shock when we come to Genesis 2:18 and hear “It was not good…” How could anything created by a perfect and omnipotent God not be good? What wasn’t good? “It was not good for man to be alone.”
God is three persons in one essence. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have an eternal relationship. God wouldn’t be God without it.
As men made in the image of God, it isn’t good for us to be alone. We can’t adequately express the image of God in us outside of authentic relationships. To be fully human is to connect with other people in real ways.
When you are part of a team in leadership, you are expressing this relational aspect of the image of God. You also can fulfill several biblical mandates that enrich your life…
1. Encourage One Another (1 Thessalonians 5:11) – We need to encourage, and to be encouraged. What seems insurmountable when we are in the dark by ourselves can be overcome when we have men standing with us in the light. If you will gather around other men they can help you do things you never thought you would be able to do.
2. Learn to Not Always Have to Get Your Way (1 Peter 3:8) – Nothing brings humility like working with a team, giving in to allow another idea to win, and then finding out after the fact that you were wrong and the other idea actually worked. Becoming a team player means considering others more important than yourself. And God uses humble men in powerful ways.
3. Grow Together (Romans 15:14) – There are some lessons you can’t learn from a textbook. And unfortunately, you won’t ever learn them if you don’t try to do something great with a group of leaders. Don’t come to the end of your life and realize you are only 80% of the man you could have been simply because you refused to join up with a team and advance the kingdom of God.
4. Love Others (Ephesians 4:2) – I find that guys are easy to get along with as long as I don’t actually try to accomplish something with them. When we have to work together on a calling from God, then we learn to love people for their gifts and in spite of their shortcomings. And we learn that a biblical friendship is the most powerful force in the world.
A Community Can Make Us Better Leaders
Not only do we need to be part of a local team, but we also need to be part of a community.
Being in community with other leaders from around the country makes us more efficient, because we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We can build on what other leaders have already done to reach and disciple men.
It also makes us more effective, because we can take advantage of proven resources and strategies that will actual produce disciples. Rather than guessing about what might work if we tried it, we can take advantage of the hard lessons other leaders have learned. God can use our efforts to implement effective strategies rather than wasting time and energy trying to develop things from scratch.
That’s why tools like disciplemen.com and the National Coalition of Men’s Ministries are so important. disciplemen.com (www.disciplemen.com) allows you to connect with the world’s best leaders and resources in a single online location. (We are in the building phase through early 2008, and would love your contributions.) NCMM (www.ncmm.org) allows you to connect with ministries and experts who can serve you and your church in your ministry with men.
Take advantage of these resources to be a good steward of the calling God has given you.
If you are not involved with other men in doing something big for God, pray about where God might want you to serve, get some guys, and get to it. You’ll find a joy in teamwork and service that will transform your life.
Leadership is a team sport. Grab someone and get in the game.
Do you have someone walking with you in your personal life and in your ministry? If so, thank them this week and also take a moment to thank God. If not, why not meet with one or two men this week, share your story, and see if God might call you into partnership together?
Do you need to grow in any of the four areas mentioned in this article? (Yes, that’s a rhetorical question – if you don’t think you do, then, uhmm, I’m pretty sure you do.) Talk with another leader this week about one of these areas and how you might grow together.