Saturday, May 31, 2008

Guiding principles that impact ministry decisions

In a prior post I gave an example of guiding principles that can actually guide ministry decision making.

I liken guiding principles to the channel markers that one encounters when piloting a boat in inland waterways. The green and red buoys that mark the channel are there for one reason: to keep you and your boat safe. They tell you that as long as you stay inside the channel, you are in safe water. If you choose to leave the marked channel, you are in unsafe water. It amazes me how many would-be pilots think they don't have to stay inside the channel and find out the hard way that shallow water or shoals are not good for their boat's hull!

In the same way, an organization's guiding principles are designed to delineate the safe water or channel that everyone is to say within, If you review ReachGlobal's guiding principles from a prior post you will see that they delineate how we do what we do and provide concrete guidance to all personnel as to how they must approach their work. They are prescriptive in nature and measurable. Supervisors can dialogue with personnel on how well they are living by the guiding principles and hold them accountable if they choose to ignore them.

Many organizations have values that are so general they provide no real guidance and are ignored. I asked the president of an organization recently what the guiding principles or values of his organization were and he could not even remember them. Obviously they were of no help to him or others.

Guiding principles serve several key purposes that are central to a healthy organization. First, they allow you to define for all personnel the core commitments that you want everyone to live by. For instance, in our organization, 'team' is a non-negotiable commitment and our guiding principle makes it clear that all personnel work in a team context. It is not an option and the guiding principle makes it clear.

Second, taken as a whole, guiding principles allow you to craft the kind of ministry culture that you want to permeate your organization. When all of your personnel are living by the same set of guiding principles, you start to get significant alignment.

Third, they keep your organization in 'safe waters' by clarifying those things that are non-negotiables. By doing so, you prevent the unintended consequences of traveling outside the channel markers into unsafe waters.

To get to clarity on guiding principles you can ask yourself these questions:
-What are the non-negotiables that apply to our whole organization?
-Around what things must we have absolute alignment by everyone on the team?
-What are the principles, that if followed, will keep our organization in safe waters?
-If we had to describe the most important principles of how we do what we do, what would they be?

To be meaningful, guiding principles are not merely a phrase or word but should include and explanation of what the word or phrase means in your organization. That way they can truly guide behavior.

A well-chosen set of guiding principles also gives your organization permission to choose certain courses of action. One of our guiding principles is that "We measure results." That sends a strong message to our personnel that we are committed to seeing measurable results in our ministry and that everyone in the organization must be productive vs. busy. What we measure is important, but the ability to measure is ensured by the guiding principle.

Well-written guiding principles are not only the channel markers for the ministry but they empower personnel to make decisions that are consistent with the principles. They provide both empowerment and accountability.

A journey from ambiguity to clarity

I have worked for the EFCA for 18 years in the national office. It is a great organization. However, for the first eight or so years that I worked there we had a very nebulous idea of what our mission was. We knew it revolved around churches and we were focused on the number of churches we had. Apart from running good programs and focusing on church planting, however, it was very hard to define what we were apart from being one of those 'denominational offices.'

About ten years ago, a big transition took place for us as we worked through a process to define a new mission statement: "The EFCA exists to glorify God by multiplying healthy churches among all people." All of a sudden we had meaningful targets that were not simply about numbers. We are about multiplication of churches, the health of churches, becoming a movement of 'all people' in the United States, and reaching 'all people' globally. These four integrated foci began to drive everything we did.

At the same time, we determined that we had to be a service organization for the churches in our movements. We existed for them and not them for us! In other words, by helping our churches become all that they could be (the local church is God's chosen instrument to reach the world) we fulfilled our mandate. Our surveys show that about 98% of our pastors know and believe in the mission of the EFCA today. And, because our churches voluntarily give financial contributions to the national office, they vote on our effectiveness with their pocketbooks. In the past 10 years, the financial support of the EFCA national office has gone up dramatically. All this is the result of moving from ambiguity to clarity and then living out that clarity.

Moving from ambiguity to clarity is one of the most powerful things a ministry organization can do to increase its missional effectiveness.

The common dysfunction of bureaucracy

Bureaucracy is a first cousin to control because it is perpetuated through unnecessary 'toll booths' that must be stopped at and tolls paid before one can move forward. Bureaucracy is not usually created to control (although sometimes it is) but rather to ensure that right decisions are made and right directions pursued.

Boards that require all items to come to them before decisions are made, or leaders who demand the same from team members, or layers of organizational leadership and oversight often create unhealthy and unnecessary forms of bureaucracy.

I define burearcracy as unnecessary toll booths that need to be negotiated by ministry personnel in order to move forward. Again, leaders have a significant role in whether or not bureaucracy is part of the culture.

Bureaucracy matters because it has a negative impact on the ability of the ministry to make timely ministry decisions, on the level of empowerment leaders and staff feel and therefore on their satisfaction level in their ministry. Where Return on Mission is affected by bureaucracy, it hurts the organization.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Considering your organization's culture

Every organization has a unique culture that defines it. If we have been in an organization for awhile, we don't even think about its culture - we have become part of it. However, it is worth thinking about because the culture will have an impact - positive or negative - on our ministry. Culture is never neutral. Leaders, especially, must be acutely aware of the culture of their organization.

Organizational culture is the unspoken ethos of a group of people including its beliefs, social behaviors, practices, attitudes, values, and traditions - all of which contribute to a collective way of thinking and practice.

Culture matters. The best ministry people will not stay long term in cultures that are unhealthy because they value as an asset the time they have to make a difference for the Kingdom, and they will not invest their lives where the culture does not support the desired returns.

Organizational culture has a direct impact not only on people, but also the ability of the organization to flex and meet rapidly changing ministry opportunities and environments. Mission agencies that have a traditional, change-averse culture and are still planting churches one-by-one using Western missionaries as their primary church planting method are missing the mark. They could be seeing multiples of church planting results if they concentrated on developing, empowering and releasing healthy national workers. Their culture is preventing them from being effective in their work.

Church cultures that are controlling and do not empower and release good leaders and team members are compromising themselves missionally. Culture matters.

Take 15 minutes and jot down one-word descriptors of the organization you are a part of - taking into account its beliefs, social behaviors, practices, attitudes, values and traditions. Then write a one-sentence description of its culture. Is it the culture you desire to have?

Maximum Clarity on your central ministry focus

The central ministry focus of an organization is the one thing that is must do day in and day out - the most important thing it does to help it fulfill its mission. The central ministry focus is the organization's most critical activity or perspective that has the greatest impact on missional success of the organization.

The question we must ask is this: Given our particular mission, what is the most important thing we need to focus on with a laser-like intensity to maximize our opportunity to fulfill our mission.

How one answers that question has huge implications for the effectiveness of one's ministry. The answer to this question ought to help your organization have the greatest impact on its mission and maximize its ministry opportunity.

The central ministry focus is the one thing that everyone in the organization must be committed to doing all the time. For many ministries - including churches - this will be about equipping and releasing people into ministry. You need to to ask, "What is the one thing that all of us must be committed to doing and that, if done consistently and well, will ensure that we maximize our ministry opportunity.

For the ministry I lead, the central ministry focus is to develop, empower and release healthy mission personnel and healthy national leaders. The more we focus on this the more effective we will be.

I believe that the central ministry focus for the church is found in Ephesians 4:12-13 where Paul says that the job of church leaders is "to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."

The key to our ministry, according to Paul, is the developing, empowering and releasing of the whole body for ministry rather than simply doing the ministry ourselves. Our ministry in large part is to release others into ministry themselves.

If every congregation lived out Ephesians 4:12 in developing, empowering and releasing people into active, life0-changing ministry in accordance with how God had gifted them the local church would be the revolutionary force God designed it to be. There are churches that live this out, but way too few.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Power of Clarity on Guiding Principles

Values or guiding principles answer the question "how will we do what we exist to do?" They should be clarified and written in a way that actually provides significant guidance in how we do what we do. That is why I prefer to call them guiding principles to drive home the fact that these values were actually designed to guide everyone in the organization in how they make decisions and carry out ministry.

In our organization we defined 10 clear values or guiding principles that every leader and all personnel are expected to live by. As you read the following guiding principles, note that they actually describe how personnel will approach ministry. They are specific enough that it is possible for any leader to determine whether his or her reports are ministering in alignment with them.

Reach Global Guiding Principles
We are word based and spirit empowered
As a Word-based organization we are committed to ministry that aligns with God's Word. Spirit empowerment comes from intimacy with Christ, a deep commitment prayer, watching where God is at work and always listening to His voice.

We are team lead and team driven
Believing that there is strength in teams and in the voice of multiple leaders, we are committed to a paradigm of team leadership under a gifted leader at each level of ReachGlobal ministry. We believe that ministry personnel are more productive when they are deployed in ministry teams and in community with one another. We will build strong teams with healthy relationships wherever we deploy personnel.

We are partnership driven
We are committed to carrying out the Great Commission in partnership with local churches in the United States, national partners and other evangelical organizations. We recognize the Biblical value of healthy cooperation with national partners. This includes the avoidance of paternalistic attitudes and a willingness to appropriately share in ministry decisions that affect both parties. Healthy partnerships included mutual cooperation without either party losing its identity or ability to work toward its intended objectives.

We empower personnel
We are a permission-granting - within agreed-upon parameters rather than permission-withholding. We help personnel discover their strengths and deploy them in ways that maximize their gifting and abilities.

We practice entrepreneurial thinking
In global ministry, one size does not fit all and, while our mission remains constant, the strategies to complete the mission vary and change. We always look for 'best practices' and better ways to fulfill our mission.

We measure effectiveness
ReachGlobal is committed to being accountable to EFCA churches and supporters for tangible ministry results. A commitment to effective ministry requires the accountability of measurements.

We do multiplication rather than addition
ReachGlobal is committed to providing ongoing training and equipping of personnel in life and ministry skills. ReachGlobal will only be as good as the leaders who provide leadership at each level. We will find, equip and deploy those who have the gifts of leadership and who have proven leadership effectiveness.

We resource for maximum ministry
A well-resourced organization is more likely to be an effective organization. It is the responsibility of all ReachGlobal personnel to participate in the three-fold resourcing of personnel, strategy and finances.

We are holistic and integrated in approach
Historically, missions have emphasized the Biblical mandate of ministering to the whole person in the name of Christ. This includes ministries of compassion, education and other ministry platforms in addition to those of evangelism and church planting. A distinctive of ReachGlobal is that all ministries are integrated into the goal of multiplying healthy churches.

Notice that each guiding principle is followed by a clear definition of its meaning. These definitions have been carefully crafted and edited over time to clarify as well as we can what we mean by the guiding principle and how it actually impacts how we do ministry.

Both the headings and the explanation of each principle are designed to provide maximum clarity. Today there is no question in the minds of our personnel that we are committed to these guiding principles and that all of us are expected to live by them. They inform and influence everything we do.

The Power of Clarity around Mission

For a congregation or ministry organization to reach its God-given potential, leaders must have absolute mission clarity and an unwavering commitment to that mission. Mission clarity allows leaders to lead in a specific direction that fulfills God's mandate for their ministry.

Mission answers the question, "Why do we exist?" The ability to clearly answer this question and help our organizations and churches understand the answer is key to good leadership and healthy, effective ministries.

Vagueness on mission leads to a diffusion of ministry effectiveness and competing, sometimes contradictory, directional emphasis. The greater clarity we have for why we exist, the more focused our ministry energies can be. Mission does not answer questions of specific strategies you are going to pursue. Rather, it answers an important directional question and, if answered well, allows leaders to move whole congregations in a common direction.

In our organization, the mission is clear: "We exist to glorify God by multiplying healthy churches among all people."

This answers the question for us, "why do we exist?" We want to glorify God. We will glorify God through church multiplication. But the multiplication we are after is not general, it is specifically healthy churches. And we have a commitment to do that multiplication among all people.

This is what we know. Our goal is to glorify God. We will be successful only when we see true multiplication take place and where that multiplication is healthy and includes not just some kinds of people but all kinds of people.

Most organizations have a mission statement. The problem is that most of their constituents either don't know what it is or what it means. Mission is not something to be written in our materials but lived in our lives. In our organization we insist that all initiatives undertaken can be tied clearly back to our mission. If they cannot be, they are probably not things we should be doing.

A key ongoing question for leaders ought to be "how well are we doing in living the mission?" In some organizations the mission will need to be clarified so it is possible to answer the question. Your mission is the main thing and the main thing is always to keep the main thing the main thing.

Friday, May 16, 2008

What altitude should you be flying at?

One of the critical issues for leaders is to determine what altitude they need to fly at and then do their best to stay there. For instance, as the leader of a large organization, my responsibility is to fly at the 40,000 foot level so that I can see the horizons from the best vantage point. My senior team members need to be at 30,000 feet and their area leaders at 20,000 feet and many more will be at ground level.

If I default to flying lower than I should be (by getting into issues that someone else should be dealing with), I am compromising my leadership because I have defaulted to old habits and old responsibilities. My job is not to deal with 20,000 foot issues but with 40,000 foot issues.

Joel is a leader who rose through the ranks of a mission organization to become a senior leader in that organization. He started as a missionary 'on the ground,' then became a team leader, soon an area leader and then a senior leader. In this role he needed to be flying at 30,000 feet but there were things he loved to do at the 5,000 foot level and he had a habit of 'losing altitude' to get into things he used to do and enjoyed doing. Yet he was now responsible for a huge area of the world, scores of missionaries and many national partnerships.

His leader had to coach him to stay at the 30,000 foot level. Could he still do the things he used to do? Not personally. If he wanted those projects to get done he had to find someone to do it through rather than doing it himself. His altitude was 30,000 feet as a leader, not 5,000 feet. It took coaching and practice but he learned to stay at the right altitude.

This does not mean that leaders are aloof or distant from those they lead. Leaders are always with those they lead. What it means is that we are doing those tasks that are appropriate for our current role and have given up those things that were appropriate for our past role. You cannot take on new responsibility - and do it well - without giving up old responsibility.

Further, when we hang on to the old tasks we disempower those who should be responsible for those tasks. Remember, healthy leaders make the transition from independent producer to leading through others. This transition - related pain of loss is a natural result of agreeing to fly at a higher altitude than we previously did.

Understand the altitude that you need to fly at and stay there. It is a transition from a lower to a higher altitude. It requires you to give things away, empower others and ultimately to lead at the level you need to lead. When you lead at the right altitude, you allow others to lead at their appropriate altitude.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thinking about Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Ministry organizations pay far too little attention to the issue of Emotional Intelligence (EQ). When we hire we look at competency and character and fit with our organization. But, we often gloss over the individual's EQ and if the EQ is not good we pay a price for neglecting this issue.

In most ministry settings the single greatest cause of conflict revolves around poor EQ causing relational issues, bad feelings, disempowerment and lack of health.

Emotional Intelligence, often labeled EQ, is the ability to understand ourselves, know what drives us, accurately see who how we are perceived by others, and know how we relate to others. EQ also measures whether we have the relational skill to work synergistically with others while being 'self defining' and allowing others to speak into our lives or work without defensiveness.

Signs of poor EQ include the inability to listen to others, personal defensiveness, unawareness of how we come across to others, lack of sensitivity to the feelings of others, inability to constructively deal with conflict, a need to control others, narcissism, and the need to have our own way.

Good EQ includes openness to the opinions of others, lack of defensiveness, awareness of who we are and how others perceive us, sensitivity to others, the ability to release others rather than control them, allow for constructive and robust dialogue, and the ability to abide by common decisions.

It is possible for someone to have great competence but to have low EQ and leave relational havoc in their wake. Don't put them on your team. In fact, if they cannot be helped to become healthy, they probably should not be an employee of your ministry because no matter how competent they are, the damage they cause relationally in and outside the organization is too high. The alternative is to put them in a spot where they will do the least damage to others.

One of the sins of ministry organizations is that under the guise of 'grace' or 'being nice' we are not honest with people who have EQ issues. We don't tell them when their style hurts others or causes relational chaos. Then having not been honest, we finally get fed up and let them go. That is not helpful nor fair.

The first step in helping people develop better EQ is to sit down with them and honestly share how the behaviors that are problematic cause problems and to suggest ways that they can modify their behavior to minimize the negative fallout. Many times in our organization we will ask people to see a psychologist when there are significant issues to try to bring change. Where change is not forthcoming we will take action to help them find another organization to work for. The alternative is to compromise the health of the team they are on and the missional effectiveness of the ministry.

Good EQ for leaders is especially important. Leaders with poor EQ often control others, micro-manage, are threatened by people who are more competent than themselves, do not foster robust dialogue and consequently are unable to develop healthy teams. The fallout on the team are issues that people don't dare discuss, mistrust, silo mentalities, frustration of team members and lack of cooperation.

Two excellent articles on Emotional Intelligence are Leadership that Gets Results, Daniel Goleman, Harvard Business Review, March-April 2000, reprint number R00204 and What Makes a Leader, Daniel Goleman, Harvard Business Review, January 2004, Reprint number R0401H

Characteristics of High Impact Teams

High Impact Teams are groups of individuals who are committed to the same mission.
A team is not a team because it is called a team. Healthy teams are based on a clear, definable, well-articulated, passionately held, common mission. In fact, if there is not passionate ownership of a common mission you cannot have a High Impact Team.

One of the key reasons teams do not function well is the absence of a clearly defined mission that all are committed to. Many churches and ministries do not have a clear mission. In the absence of clarity of mission, a team will find some other glue to hold it together but it will not be very effective because it does not have a central focus. Whatever your team, the glue that holds you together if you want to see significant results of your work must be a well articulated mission that you are passionate about. Mission is everything!

High Impact Teams are committed to alignment around a common mission. A common dysfunction of ministries is the lack of alignment between various departments. It is not unusual in church staff meetings for members to spend time reporting the happenings of their respective ministries without any concrete alignment between them. They essentially operate in silos, doing their own thing, oblivious to what others are doing in their ministries and while all the parts may be 'good' they are also 'isolated' and not part of a whole. Staff member are focused only on their slice and are not interested in doing the hard work of ensuring alignment.

Healthy teams reject that kind of silo mentality because it keeps the organization from being great and from maximizing its God-given potential. It takes more time and energy to be aligned than unaligned but the results of alignment around a common mission are a quantum leap from the outcomes that results from disparate, unaligned ministries. Good leaders and teams take the harder road because it yields greater ministry impact. A characteristic of good leaders is that they insist on ministry alignment around common mission.

Healthy teams commit to common values, practices and commitments of the organization at large. Integration means that all members are committed to a set of common factors. In the mission organization that I lead we have a common mission, a set of ten guiding principles, a central ministry focus and a defined culture. No one gets into leadership in the organization today without complete buy-in with these four areas. In fact, a person cannot join the organization in a ministry position without agreement in these four areas. Healthy teams commit to common ownership of the organizational values, practices and commitments.

Healthy teams believe in the complimentary use of gifts. Why bother with team? A central reason to care about team is that healthy teams get far more done in a more creative and synergistic manner than any one person could ever do alone. I am fascinated that God designed the senior leadership of the church (elders, overseers) as teams and not as a single individual. When the early church sent missionaries, they sent a team (Acts 13). When the early church designed a ministry to take care of the widows and the poor (deacons) it created a team. This is a recognition that God gives various gifts to different people and when they work in concert with one another, the team is at its strongest.

Good teams are not simply a group of people indiscriminately thrown together for the sake of 'team.' They are carefully made up of people with differing gifts that, when combined, creates something far more powerful than any one of the individuals could accomplish on their own.

Healthy teams think strategically and are execution oriented. Healthy team members focus on developing the best-possible strategies for the organization at large so that its mission is fulfilled. While there is an important element of simple communication and coordination in team meetings, the real work of teams is that of strategizing together on the best way to move the organization (or their part of the organization) forward. Team meetings should have a significant portion of time devoted to current problems that need solving, opportunities that can be leveraged, and planning for the future. This is always done in the context of the mission, values, and preferred future of the organization.

While some organizations are high on planning, they are often short on execution - or getting things done. The bottom line for good teams is that they are results-oriented. Team leaders must ensure that discussion regularly comes to concrete proposals with accountability for who is responsible for doing what.

Healthy team members allow others to speak into their ministries, methods and results. This is a logical extension of the descriptions we have given for teams. Because it is all about mission! Because all that we do is in alignment. Because we believe in the complimentary use of gifts, and because we care more about the whole than we do our piece of the ministry, we are ready and willing to allow others to speak into our area of ministry involvement without being defensive or protective.

Many talk team but do not live team. And the strongest reason not to live team is the cost it incurs. It demands our time, a commitment to a common mission, commitment to one another and alignment with others, a release of our independence, a focus that is wider than our personal ministry, and a submission of our gifts for the good of the whole.

Healthy teams have healthy leaders who love to develop, empower and release team members. Healthy teams are not possible without a healthy leader who has enough self confidence to bring around him or her other highly competent individuals without being threatened by their strength. Healthy leaders are not defensive or threatened. They have developed an attitude of 'nothing to prove, nothing to lose.' They are empowering rather than controlling. Good leaders hire good people, clearly define the boundaries of their work, and empower and release them to get the job done.

Healthy leaders are not autocratic but believe in and practice collegial, collaborative leadership. They allow robust dialogue and debate and help the group come to common conclusions and commitments. For those of us who lead teams, there is no substitute for continuing to grow as healthy, effective, empowering leaders. Others love to work for leaders who have those characteristics and will be exceedingly loyal to them.

Healthy teams are made up of individuals who are emotionally healthy. Beware of who you put on your team! Healthy individuals will make team work a joy. Unhealthy individuals will kill an otherwise good team. There is a growing awareness of the need to hire people who are competent, who have character and who fit the culture of our organizations. However we pay too little attention to the EQ of those we recruit to be members of our teams.

Healthy teams are deliberately created. They are created to maximize the effectiveness of the team through the right set of gifting and need in order to create the synergy, alignment, energy, wisdom and skills necessary to carry out the team's mandate.

When you consider adding people to a team consider a number of questions:
  • Does this person have good EQ (emotional intelligence)?
  • Can this person play at or above the level that the other members of this team play at?
  • Do they have a skill(s) that will complement the team?
  • Is this person a team player?
  • Can they contribute to the whole rather than simply guard their turf?
  • Do they fully embrace the mission and values of the organization?
  • Do the other members of the team think they will fit well?
  • Do they have the expertise needed for the ministry in which they will participate?
  • Do they understand the implications of joining your team and the expectations for them as a member?
Healthy team meetings are carefully planned and executed. There are few things more irritating than to be required to attend meetings that are carelessly planned and poorly led. Leaders effectively set the tone for their team by the care they model in designing meaningful agendas, keeping the meeting on target and ensuring that the time is well spent. When this is not the case, the message to team members is that 'this is not that important,' and they will not take their part seriously.

Too many leaders under-prepare for team meetings considering them a distraction from more important issues. Team time is not an ancillary part of a leader's priorities. It is central. Team time is where leaders remind people of mission. It is where they plan, solve problems, dream, and whiteboard around the preferred future of the organization - or the slice of the organization represented by the team they lead.

Healthy teams encourage robust dialogue between members. One of the reasons team leaders must have a healthy EQ is that healthy teams encourage honest, frank dialogue about all issues with the exception of personal attacks. In our organization we constantly say we want no elephants in the room, and where they may exist, they need to be named and put on the table.

This does not work for insecure leaders who easily become defensive. One can judge the relative health of a team by the number of elephants in the room - the number of topics that are instinctively known to be out of bounds. The ability to have honest and frank discussion without personal attack is a sign that trust has been established between members allowing them to evaluate one another's areas of responsibility without taking umbrage of one another.

Robust dialogue is the ability to freely discuss any issue of organizational or ministry importance with candor while refraining from personal attacks or driving hidden agendas in order to further the effectiveness and mission of the organization.

What a ministry team is not

Teams are not about working with your best friends.
You may work with those whom you consider good friends but ultimately teams are about common mission, not surrounding yourself with friends. Missional friendships are different than personal friendships. Missional friendships are collegial relationships centered around the common mission you have as a team and organization. Personal friendships are based on common interests and passions, many of which have nothing to do with the work you do. This does not mean that healthy teams are not friendly. In fact, they should be collegial. The important issue is not to confuse the role of 'team mates' with that of 'best friends.' The latter is a bonus but not a given.

The primary function of team is not to meet one's social and emotional needs. All of us have social and emotional needs that need to be met. The deepest of these will be met with family and friends. Some may be met by those we serve with but it is not a given. Our role on a team is a 'functional' one designed to achieve a specific mission. We may or may not be with our team long term. The team may change. Our responsibilities may change. Teams are not designed to meet our primary social and emotional needs and if we try to make them do so we will be disappointed when our needs are not met or when roles change.

Team does not mean that we necessarily spend huge amounts of time together. Team does require time. More time than some who are consumed by their own priorities want to give. less time than some who desire the comradeship and friendship of those with whom they work would like to receive.

Healthy, aligned, synergistic teams make adequate time for team. But that time is spent primarily on mission and secondarily on relationships. The purpose of team is missional - which will take time For some, that time will be a sacrifice because they don't want to be pulled away from 'their stuff.' For others it will not be enough because they are looking for the team to satisfy more of their emotional and social needs.

Team is not primarily about meetings. Team has far more to do with how we think about our working relationships, our alignment with others in the organization and the common mission to which we give our energies, than it has to do with formal meetings. It is about a mindset that always takes into account the whole organization, its best interests, its success and the inter-related ministries we each represent. This is a far cry from how many team members operate in ministry organizations where outside the 'team meeting' they make decisions within their own silo without taking into consideration the success of the whole. The latter perspective causes turf battles, conflicts and misunderstanding.

Team does not mean we are all working on the same project. Team means that we are committed to the same mission but not necessarily to the same project.

Team does not mean that we lead by committee. Teams are not 'leadership by committee,' which is a terrible way to lead. Good teams have good leaders. Good leaders practice collaborative decision making so there is common ownership and buy in. But, teams are not led by committee. Good leaders bring proposals to their teams, or ask others to do so for discussion, robust dialogue, tweaking and ultimate agreement. But someone must be the leader or coach of the team.

Definition of Team. A group of missionally aligned and healthy individuals working strategically together under good leadership toward common objectives with accountability for results.