We all need a great team in order to have an effective children’s or family ministry. It might be your staff if you serve in a larger church. It might be a team of volunteers. Or it might be somewhere in between. Whatever your team looks like, there are certain things all of us can do to help them be a great team.
Here are five ways that I know of:
1. Love them.
I’m amazed when I work with a church and I come across a ministry team that seems to be “all business”, with very little “relationship” going on. But as we say over and over, ministry always happens best in the context of relationships. That is true on the team level, as well.
Want to know how to love your team? Here’s a great starting point:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
I Corinthians 13:4 – 7
Does this describe how you engage your team?
2. Laugh with them.
Building on the relational element, there are few things we can do to create unity than laughing together. I like to think of times of enjoyment and laughter with my team as “anchor points” – moments we can look back on and hold on to when times get tough. It’s a time of sharing, being vulnerable and authentic, which bonds us together like few other moments do.
Hopefully your team laughs together in the everyday routines. But as the leader, being intentional about creating times of enjoyment and laughter is important. Work on your own humor, be quick to be light-hearted, and shape times where the team simply laughs together.
3. Lead them.
There are many definitions of what leadership is, a huge amount of writing about what leaders do. Essentially, though, leadership is about having a vision and executing it with your team. So, with your team, it’s important that you have a vision, keep it before them, help them understand and buy into it, and then help them to execute it well in their roles.
This might mean equipping them, helping them grow as a leader, solving problems with them, moving them to a new role, running interference for them in a crisis, or any number of other things that leaders do.
The important thing is that you are proactively leading! A team without leadership will not be a team for long, and it certainly won’t accomplish anything worthwhile.
4. Let them.
- Let them have a voice.
- Let them fail.
- Let them create.
- Let them work through challenges.
- Let them vent.
- Let them do things their way.
You get the idea – basically, let them have the freedom to lead the ministry with you. Guide, coach, support, and encourage…but “let them”.
5. Love them.
Yep, we’re right back to where we started, aren’t we? That’s because loving your team will lead to the other things. Loving your team will give you a heart to disciple them. Loving your team will help them love each other, and then love the people they serve. Loving your team will make up for many faults, heal many slights, and strengthen the individual and the group like little else can. As Jesus told us, first we love God, and then we love others – that really sums up what being a Jesus-follower is all about. And it’s a great place to start – and end – in having a great team.