3 Keys to Maintaining Unity on Your Team

For a team or organization to achieve their vision and mission, they must have unity on their team. The art of doing team well, involves individuals coming together and working together as one unit, rather than as individuals. Healthy teams require individuals to give and take while maintaining individual opinions and values.

To create unity, we as individuals must do our best to understand the personality, strengths, giftings, and motivations of others. Often conflict arises when others do or say things differently than we would. One of the first steps to getting along with others is to seek to understand their perspective and point of view.

“If I were to summarize in one sentence the single most important principle I have learned in the field of interpersonal relations, it would be this: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Dr. Stephen R. Covey

3 Keys to Maintaining Unity on Your Team by Seeking to Understand One Another

Have each member of the team complete a Spiritual Gifts Test.
Once each member has completed the Spiritual Gifts Test, spend a subsequent meeting going over the results focussing on the following questions:

  • How might your top 3-4 giftings work well on this team?
  • How might your top 3-4 gifts be misunderstood by others on this team?
  • If your top gifts become unbalanced, how might each contribute to disunity?
  • What would you like others to know about how you perceive your top 3-4 giftings?

Have a discussion around how you could honor each team member during the upcoming year.
For some, it may be acknowledging their birthday. For others, it may be honoring a job well done. For some, it may be acknowledging a difficult anniversary of a loss etc.  Find out what is important to each team member and then plan to honor each in the way that is meaningful to them.

Have each member complete a personality inventory.
My favorite personality inventory is called “The Flag Page”. 
There is a small fee for completing The Flag Page inventory, but I have found it well worth the cost. It has been more insightful for me than any other personality inventory l have completed. The Flag Page highlights your top motivations, shows you where you will succeed and why. Instead of thinking what’s wrong with you, the Flag Page shows what’s right about you.

I encourage you to have each team member complete The Flag Page inventory and print their results. Then have a discussion where each team member gets to explain their results, name their top 5 motivations and what this information means to them personally.

Next, I encourage you to spend time with your team in prayer:

  • affirm one another in his/her top strengths and motivations
  •  ask God to strengthen each team member to know how to bring his/her strengths to the team
  • pray for each team member to encourage the unity of the team by seeking to understand one another

Maintaining unity among a team may be challenging at times, but the strength of the team far outweighs the strength of one.

Check Out Other Recent Articles Related to this Subject

Atributes of Healthy Teams

Choosing Team Members

The Importance of Working Through Team

Attributes of Healthy Teams

Ministry requires healthy teams. In my recent blog titled “The Importance of Working Through Team” I addressed several reasons why leaders should not work alone. Having previously established the importance of teams and team-work, here are some attributes of healthy teams. If your team doesn’t possess these attributes, I encourage you to seek training such as my “First Steps – Keys to Building Vibrant Ministry” workshop. 

Healthy Teams Do the Following

  1. Understand the vision and goals of the team
  • the organization or team’s mission statement and vision statement should be reviewed regularly
  • when major decisions are to be made, the team should review the mission and vision statements, and make the decision based on these guiding documents
  • team members that consistently challenge the vision and or mission statement may need to re-evaluate their involvement in the team
  1. Respect one another
  • healthy teams understand that all team members matter
  • healthy teams agree that all members bring something unique to the table
  • healthy teams treat one another with dignity and respect
  1. Communicate openly
  • healthy teams do their best to communicate in a respectful manner, even when conflicts or disagreements arise
  • healthy teams do their best to keep short accounts with other team members, and if tensions arise, do their best to keep the peace
  • healthy teams use this verse as a guiding principle If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18
  • healthy teams are honest and authentic
  1. Resolve conflict
  • healthy teams do their best to resolve conflict in a timely manner understanding that sometimes people need time and space to process and calm down
  • healthy teams understand that conflict is normal and that not all members will agree on everything all the time
  • Healthy teams remember to attack the problem and not other team members
  1. Cooperate not compete
  • healthy teams work together as a team, not as individuals
  • healthy teams realize they are stronger together
  • healthy teams don’t go behind other team members backs
  • healthy teams avoid back room deals
  1. Celebrate a job well done
  • healthy teams take time after an event to celebrate what God did
  • healthy teams acknowledge hard work, and acknowledge those who put in extra time to make events and projects happen

For more information on teams please see my blogs:

 “Choosing Team Members”;  

“The Importance of Working Through Team” 

“Conflict”

Choosing Team Members

Tips for Choosing Team Ministry Team Members

Here are some tips to remember when choosing members for a ministry team. It took me years to figure out some of these tips and some I learned the hard way.

  • Don’t choose your friends to be part of your team
    • if your friends are on your team, it will be tempting to talk about team issues when you are together socially, and you may harm your friendship if it becomes all business and no fun
    • if there is conflict on your team, you may lose your team-mate and your friendship
  • Look for team members that have different personality types and giftings (spiritual gifts)
    • team leaders need to staff to their weakness
    • ideal teams are well-balanced with team members that have varied strengths
  • Look for team members from different life-stages
    • team members from different life-stages provide varied perspectives
    • filling your team with varied life-stages will provide mentoring opportunities for team members
      • The amount of free time people have often corresponds with the life stage they are in. For example, women raising young children are likely to have less free time, than those who are retired. Take this into consideration when building your team. Some team members will have more time to give to the team and tasks than others will.
  • Look for team members with varied experience
    • team members with a lot of prior ministry experience may be tempted to rely on past experiences instead of the viewing current issues objectively
    • having a team of all inexperienced members may be a problem if the leader of the team is also inexperienced
    •  building a team with members who have varied life experience will provide greater opportunity for relatability with those you will serve
  • Look for introverts and extroverts for your team
    • both introverts and extroverts are an asset to your team
    • introverts are often great for facilitators, or for working behind the scenes
    • extroverts are often great Emcees, greeters, hostesses

Other Questions to Consider When Choosing Ministry Team Members

  • Is the individual committed to growing in her walk with Christ?
  • Does she have a passion for women’s ministry?
  • Is she available to take on more commitment or is she already over committed?
  • Does she have a skill set needed on the team?
  • Is she a person who sucks the life out of you and others?
  • Can she hold confidences or is she a gossip?
  • Does she speak favorably about your church leadership?
  • Does she speak respectfully of her family?

See also “The Importance of Working Through Team” 

The Importance of Working Through Team

Jesus worked through team. He gathered 12 men and discipled them through His teaching and example, how they should live, and how they should minister. These 12 men were far from perfect, but they answered God’s call and He used them in mighty ways. If Jesus worked through team, and He was the perfect Son of God (who didn’t need people), how much more should we work through team?

There are several reasons leaders may be tempted to do everything themselves. The following is a list of lies leaders may believe, followed by the truth that disproves the lies.

The Lie: No one really wants to help so I should do it all myself.

The Truth: People are often waiting for a personal invitation by the leader before they are willing to get involved. Secondly any leader trying to do everything themselves is going to burn out quickly.

 

The Lie: I can do the job better myself.

The Truth: No one person is good at everything.  Rather than working alone, we should gather a team made up of individuals with a variety of strengths and giftings. A wise leader builds a team with individuals that have strengths in areas of his/her weakness.

 

The Lie: I should keep saying yes.

The Truth: Sometimes our yes allows another to sin by saying no. As leaders, if we are doing more than our share of the work, we may be allowing others to be negligent. We may be robbing another of his/her blessing because we’ve stepped up to do a job they should have done.

 

The Lie: Asking for help is a weakness.

The Truth: Asking for help can be a strength. It takes courage and humility to admit we need help, and these are godly characteristics that every leader should possess.

 

The Lie: If I let others know my weaknesses they won’t respect me.

The Truth: Authentic leaders who admit their weaknesses and vulnerabilities tend to attract, not repel people. Many people would rather follow an authentic leader, than someone who is pretending to have it all together.

 

The Lie: I must keep leading even though I know my time is done because no one is stepping up to take my place.

The Truth: When God asks you to step down from leading, listen. If you try to keep leading after your expiry date, you will likely do more damage than good.

 

The Lie: I’m not good enough to lead.

The Truth: God loves to equip the called. Most of the biblical characters God used were misfits or ordinary people. This should give us hope that God can use us, despite our weaknesses!

Also see Seventh Roadblock to Effective Women’s Ministry – Trying to Lead Alone

Why Women’s Ministry Matters

In my last blog “Why Churches Need Women’s Ministry” I addressed some of the reasons I believe women’s ministry is vital to the local church.

In this blog I will provide 2 points on why the local church matters, and how women’s ministry within the church can help fulfill its’ mission.

In his article Why the Local Church Really Mattersauthor, Tim Challies lists  reasons the local church matters. He found these reasons in the book “Church in Hard Placeswritten by Mez McConnell and Mike McKinley. The following 2 reasons the local church matters are taken from McConnell and McKinley’s book. I have then applied these reasons specifically to women’s ministry in a local church context.

The local church is the way God intends to accomplish his mission in the world.

Women’s ministry within the local church can help accomplish God’s mission in the world. 

I interpret God’s mission to the world as the great commission, to go into all the world and preach the gospel.

Here are some ideas on how to facilitate sharing the gospel through women’s ministry:

Host outreach minded events

Women are often great at inviting other women to join in what they are already doing. Hosting women’s events that are seeker friendly can provide a great opportunity for women to invite an unchurched neighbour or friend. Having an event to attend together can provide a great opportunity for conversation and an introduction to other women who love Jesus. These conversations may pave the way to an opportunity to share the gospel.

Outreach minded events I have helped facilitate:

  • Supper at Hugo’s (a local Mexican restaurant – once/month drop in supper)
  • Paint Night
  • Progressive Supper
  • “The War Room” movie night
  • Stories Events where women from our church shared their testimonies of difficult things in their lives that God led them through
  • Ladies Christmas Brunch – one year one of the hostesses filled a table with women from her neighbourhood who were not believers

Other ideas on facilitating outreach within women’s ministry include:

  • Teaching women to share their testimonies and how to share the gospel
  • Evangelism training including how to start gospel centered conversations
  • Women’s missions trips to orphanages and other women’s homes or shelters

The local church is where the believer grows.

Women’s ministry within the local church is one-way God can facilitate growth in a woman’s life.

Here are some ideas on how to facilitate spiritual growth within women’s ministry:

  • offering opportunity for women to lead or participate in women’s bible studies
  • moms’ groups
  • programs teaching women to teach the bible such as Simeon Trust 
  • women’s retreats
  • women’s care groups
  • large group events such as worship nights, guest speakers teaching biblical principles
  • providing women the opportunity to serve within women’s ministry

Please keep in mind when facilitating small groups, that leaders must foster authenticity if true spiritual growth is to happen. It is easy to give “Sunday School” answers.  By this I mean tell the teacher what she wants to hear, instead of what is really thought or felt. Groups that allow individuals to share their true selves will foster true spiritual and personal growth. While sometimes the true is messy, we must be willing to allow the truth into the light, so we can walk with others through it.

Also see “Why Churches Need Women’s Ministry”