The Equipper Newsletter
November 1, 2011
Churches Equipping Saints for Service

 A Team Leader's Survival
 by Karen Kogler

"Teams are a lot of work." I sighed heavily with this guilty thought. I've promoted the value of teams for years, within and beyond my own church. But I was feeling more frustration than love at the moment.

I was in my office, trying to complete a project. I'd been trying all week. But it wasn't going well. I kept getting interrupted with appointments, and emails and phone calls that needed a response. And most of those interruptions were from people on teams I work with on some aspect of our church's equipping ministry.

I was reminded of other work those teams created. In addition to responding to their reports and questions (as evidenced by all these interruptions), it took a good amount of time and effort to form those teams. They weren't doing the tasks the same way I would, and that required thoughtful response.

As I mentally pictured those teams, I couldn't help but see the other side of the coin, too. Those team members bring to the table gifts I don't have and think of things I don't and, therefore, we create better outcomes together. We've gotten to know each other well and we have fun together. For some, service on this team opens doors to other opportunities for using their strongest gifts. And virtually all of them have thanked me for letting them make a significant contribution to our church's ministry.

Well, that burst my pity party balloon. The interruptions no longer felt like interruptions; they were the normal work of doing ministry together. I did eventually get my project done, too; ironically, it was recruiting people for a new team to plan our ministry fair with me!

The reality remains: leading a team is hard work. But it not only brings rewards, it's also the God-pleasing way to do ministry in the body of Christ. Paul reminds us, 'The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!'" (I Cor. 12:21a). When church leaders work as Lone Rangers, they cut off others in the body of Christ from using their gifts and from the joy of serving.

Like most church staff and volunteer leaders, I had no training and little experience in leading teams. But we can learn this skill and art as we go. Survival skills I'm learning:

 Good Stuff
  • Bonnie, an Equipper newsletter reader in Mequon, Wisconsin, shares this excellent blog posting, "What if Time was Booked as a Gift?" Three ways this piece is useful:
    • Share with anyone you know working in major gift planning
    • It's a useful response when people express the view that volunteers are limited to stuffing-envelope-type jobs
    • Encourage your church to record the time church volunteers spend in ministry activities 
Karen's recent  blogs for CTA (Christian Tools of Affirmation): 

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The Equipper Newsletter published monthly by
Karen Kogler, Equipper Church Volunteerism Resources