We’ve talked several times here at Children’s Ministry Leader about the idea of “team” in Children’s Ministry. We looked at How to Have a Great Team, 7 Ways to Develop Your Ministry Team, and 9 Ways to Say ‘Thanks’ to Your Team.
What we haven’t done is identify what a great team looks like. As I worked with Children’s Ministry teams – both volunteer and paid staff – here are what I believe to be 5 Characteristics of a Great Children’s Ministry Team:
1. Common Purpose and Goals
Your ministry purpose (or “vision”) is bigger than any single individual (including you!). It must be clearly defined (can you say it in a single sentence?) and shared often (here are 6 ways to do it).
Here’s the key, though…you can’t be the only one who understands it or the only one sharing it. It must be shared (that is, bought into and embraced) by the entire leadership team, who also understand how to share it. And whatever goals support that vision must also be shared.
A great team shares common purpose and goals.
Ministry always happens best in the context of relationships.
Read that again…because it’s just as true within the team as it is within any other area (leader to kids, parents, etc.).
Your team needs to be in relationship with each other – in community. This means they don’t just share small talk or lesson tips on Sunday morning, but rather they genuinely care for each other, cheer for each other, bear one another’s burdens, etc.
A great team shares community.
3. Competitively Collaborative
I think we all agree that we want a team to collaborate well. But, too often, I’ve seen the leader interpret that to mean we can’t have different opinions or ideas.
That couldn’t be further from the truth! I want my team to challenge my ideas. I want them to come up with ideas of their own and challenge each other. I want them to believe in their ideas and that they are the best for the ministry. And I want them to be able to voice their ideas and their opinions of other ideas (even if they disagree).
If they are doing this, then it means they are engaged with what’s going on. It means they’ve become passionate about what we’re trying to accomplish. It means they are “all in”!
But, at the end of the day, we’ve got to voice our opinions in a proper and godly manner and work together. So I also want leaders who are humble enough to admit that their idea isn’t the best. Or to submit when their idea isn’t the one chosen to pursue and, instead, give their all to the idea that was chosen.
A great team is competitively collaborative.
As you assimilate your team, I hope you take time to identify abilities, talents and, most of all, spiritual giftedness. You can’t get people in the right position if you don’t do this. And, you can’t put people in complimentary roles unless you know these things.
Complimentary means we work together and you’re good at what I’m not, and vice versa. It means my experience adds to the conversation here, and yours adds to it there. It means that, within the team, we have all the necessary gifts and talents to accomplish the ministry that we’ve been assigned to do.
A great team is a team with complimentary abilities, talents & spiritual giftedness.
The first four characteristics either won’t happen or won’t matter if you don’t also have good communication on the team. We can say a lot about good team communication (that’s for another post), but in the end, I want my team to exhibit two things in their communication:
- A willingness to initiate communication
- A willingness to receive communication
Initiating communication might mean sharing an idea (see #3), or it might mean telling the right person that there’s a broken door in the 3 year old room. It might mean sharing the vision with new parents, or it might mean being willing to be the “bad guy” in a room full of rowdy preteen boys. Whatever it looks like, I want team members who are willing to step up and initiate the necessary communication.
Likewise, I want them to receive communication. That might mean taking time to read the team newsletter (instead of taking an “I don’t read that stuff” attitude). It might mean accepting the coaching their immediate leader tries to provide. It might mean listening to the 4th grade boy tell about the home run he hit that week in Little League, or his parents brag about it on Sunday morning. Again, whatever the communication looks like, I want team members who are willing to listen.
A great team is one that is communicative.
What would you add as a characteristic of a great team?