Team Building

(This message was originally published on August 10, 2015)

I recently took my son and youngest daughter to the Redskins training camp in Richmond. The team was working out to get ready for the new season. Even in the summer heat, they were suited up and in the game. As churches and church leaders we never truly have an off-season. It is important for us to build strong team.

Who do you think was one of the greatest sports teams of all time – 2007 New England Patriots, 1972 Miami Dolphins, 1961 New York Yankees, or my personal favorite – the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team?   Fox Sports commentator, Tim McCarver says, “You don’t even have to watch those teams play. You just have to watch them walk.” They are strong teams. What should we keep in mind in building strong teams?

I wrote an article on team building that was published last week at and I would like to share it with you directly.

  1. Invite and involve others to serve with you. Before you build a strong team, you have to actually have a team. One example from the early church in Scripture is recorded in Acts 6. The apostles see the need for a team and lead the church in inviting and involving others to serve.
  1. Look for character as you seek competency. A person who has character but lacks competency will be ineffective. But, a person who lacks character, no matter how competent, can be a disaster. A person who lacks competency may be bad at being good; but a person who lacks character while having competency may be good at being bad!
  1. Focus on the person and not just the position. As leaders we are often focused on the agenda we need to accomplish. Team members need to know that we care about them personally and spiritually, and not just their professional or organizational contribution.
  1. Give explanations as well as having expectations. People cannot read our minds. As leaders we have to do our best to give a clear explanation of our expectations. This may be in the form of a job description and organizational charts, as well as offering time for open verbal and mutual communication.
  1. Highlight the past as you spotlight the future. Having a vision for the future is part of leadership, but we often inherit a team already in place. Get to know the shared history of the team. Humbly build upon past successes, and graciously address weaknesses.
  1. Take time to enjoy those you employ. Sometimes lunch should just be lunch. Often I have turned lunch into the proverbial “lunch and learn.” However, team building involves relationship building – so add that to your to-do list.
  1. Be a good team member as you seek to be a good team builder. Building a sense of team means that I embrace being a part of the team too. Personalities are different, but find ways to demonstrate that you want to be a part and not just on point.

What have seen or learned to be effective in building a strong team?

What qualities do you think are important in the life of a team builder?

Please consider leading your church to be involved in our 2015 Vision Virginia prayer emphasis.

For this and more information for your church go to

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