In order to effectively accomplish anything that God has placed in our hearts, there is the prerequisite of assembling a team. Through the years, I have learned that building a strong ministry team requires intentionality and a few essential components. Building teams is a “pay to play” endeavor! While there are various tools that can be discussed in regards to building teams, I will deal with three that I see as paramount: love, trust, and r-e-s-p-e-c-t (Rest well, Queen).

 

Love

The most profound definition of love was introduced to me 12 years ago while being discipled at Youth With A Mission in Tyler, TX. Love is intentionally choosing someone’s highest good. I believe that this is the least costly expectation of which a leader can assume from their team.

The obvious personal goal of a leader is to act and lead in the most loving way possible. In doing so, you are modeling to your team how to love you and others well. A couple of questions to consider:
  1. Are you leading in a such a way that your team feels that you are genuinely concerned about and committed to their highest good?
  2. Have you gone out of your way to know their love language and details about their lives?

Trust & Respect

To be trusted and respected by your team comes at a slightly higher price than love. While I realize these are two different traits, I think they are so tightly tethered that they can be dealt with as one for the purposes of this blog. Here are three actions to create and grow trust & respect amongst your team:

  1. Be Consistent. A former youth leader of mine shared this statement after a powerful night of youth ministry: “Consistency breeds credibility” (thanks Tyler Hill). No one respects or lends trusts to a leader who appears unstable and inconsistent. Consistency is not sexy in our culture—especially amongst millennials, but it is a timeless trait that is paramount within the kingdom of God. Coupled with dependable actions is a whispering voice conveying this truth, “You can really trust me.”
    • Do you bail at the last minute on the regular basis?
    • Are you constantly canceling meetings or appointments?
    • Would you be described as “consistently inconsistent?”
  2. Pay the Price. Few young leaders realize that there is a price to be paid in order to secure these quintessential qualities in the hearts of their team members. Nine years ago, I sat in the living room of the incomparable Jeanne Mayo (i.e. “America’s Youth Pastor”) where she, by way of illustration and unrivaled passion, imparted to a small group of youth pastors the idea that we must earn the right to lead and influence others. Nothing dismantles the spirit of entitlement like a realization that your team does not owe you trust and respect…until they are earned!
    • What area do you need to pay a higher price to earn trust & respect among your team?
    • Have you given sacrificially of your time and energy to anyone for an extended period?
    • Can anyone personally attest to you going “above and beyond” when it comes to shepherding & pouring into your people?
  3. Work Hard. If there is anything that robs a young leader of respect & trust, it is behavior that demonstrates laziness and apathy. For several summers after my senior year of high school, I had the honor of serving as a counselor at the esteemed Louisiana Boy’s State Program. Amongst other tasks, it was my responsibility to oversee my floor within the dorms which meant I literally had to be the last one to bed (typically 2:00am) and the first one up (5:30am). Amongst the myriad of leadership principles I gained each summer that has never eluded me, there is one that towers above them all: NEVER ask those whom you are leading to work harder than you!
    • Is it overwhelmingly obvious to your team that you are working harder than them?
    • Would your team be able to use your work ethic as a guide?
    • Can you ask and receive honest feedback by posing the question, “Do I appear lazy?” to your team?
Loving people well, being consistent, paying the price, and working hard are but the beginnings of building the team that is necessary for you to accomplish the various assignments of God on your life. Think through how you are doing in these areas and trust the Holy Spirit to highlight the areas that need strengthening in your leadership! Let’s build teams intentionally so we can accomplish assignments effectively! Feel free to leave a comment outlining other traits you deem important in leading a healthy and effective team!
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