We’re continuing our miniseries examining six “Key” strategies…operating principles and approaches that provide a framework for our staff and volunteers when unexpected opportunities arise. Today, we’ll look at why we sought to build around a team of gifted and passionate Christ-followers with complimentary talents and skills as opposed to constructing our organization around a single dynamic leader.
For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Romans 12:4-8 (MSG)
Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers.
Proverbs 24:6 (NIV)
I did my residency at Cleveland Clinic…a world-renowned institution featured prominently in every list of the top hospitals in the world…founded on the model that physicians working together as a team could provide better care. When I think about the folks in my field who have had the greatest impact on improving the treatments available to kids and families, most have been members of groups or departments. The experience of working with colleagues who are very good at their work makes everyone in the group better.
Jesus mentored a circle of followers to lead the church following His earthly ministry. But it’s very easy for the focus to shift away from Jesus to the leader of a given church or ministry. I was never fully aware of the extent of the narcissistic self-promotion in ministry world until our team became very intentional in seeking to influence that world. Kirk Wellum from Toronto Baptist Seminary put it this way in his series, The Cult of Personality…
Today, the church in the West, struggles with what can be called “the cult of personality.” This cult is the antithesis of the self-effacing attitude that characterized John the Baptist. Instead, it is the domination of the church by egos and famous personalities that for all practical purposes become larger than Jesus himself. Rarely, if ever, is this the stated intention of the people involved. Few would dare to deliberately usurp the place that belongs to Christ alone. The cult of personality, however, is more subtle than that. It happens when men put themselves front and centre in their churches and ministries. When everything revolves around them, their sermons, their thoughts, their opinions, their plans, their tweets and their programs.
Our mission is WAY bigger than any one person…and our commission is to point people toward Christ…to “make disciples.” Team leadership makes the possibility of someone other than Jesus becoming the focus of our ministry far less likely.
We’ve also sought to establish a culture that other strong leaders with big visions can join. We’re not just providing a service…we’re part of a movement. Movements need lots of high-capacity leaders with big visions. And we need to learn from other high-capacity leaders if we’re to honor God by doing what we do with a level of excellence that reflects His nature and character.
Team leadership expands our potential influence. Three of our current staff, as well as three of our current Board members (and two past Board members) have had the opportunity to speak at major ministry conferences. There are conferences where one team member has been able to establish a presence when others on our team would never be invited. Each team member has a unique sphere of influence and is capable of opening doors for other members of our team as well as like-minded colleagues from other ministry organizations.
Finally, given the struggles involved with doing ministry, I don’t think Jesus ever intended his followers to go about it alone. In Mark 6, Jesus sent the disciples out in pairs. Our ministry has been far more effective…and far more fun because we haven’t had to go about it alone!
- Links to all the posts from our recent blog series on depression
- Links to other outstanding blog posts on the topic from leaders in the disability ministry community
- Links to educational resources on the web, including excellent resources from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), a parent medication guide, and excellent information from Mental Health Grace Alliance.
Photos courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net