Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Team Development - Part 2

Your Spot in the Big Picture

In Team Development Part 1 we sought out our individual calling/purpose in our role as a team leader. Now it’s time to take that piece of the puzzle and figure out where it fits within the bigger picture. Why has God called you to this particular church or organization? How will your role connect your area of responsibility to the rest of the picture?

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Philippians 2:1-2

Before you begin building a team, you need to be clear on the vision for the full body of Christ within your church and you need to be comfortable with what part God is calling your team to play in that bigger vision. Don’t expect the leaders of the bigger picture to tell you your role. You need to be able to tell them what God is calling you to do so that all of you are moving in the same direction with Christ.

Here’s a bit of my philosophy of women’s ministry. I picture women’s ministry as somewhat of a service station along the highway. To be fully effective as part of the church Jesus prayed for in John 17:20-23, women’s ministry cannot be viewed as a separate entity from the rest of the church. God calls us to be united, not segmented. Therefore, women’s ministry should always aim at meeting the unique needs of women so that they can better function in the full body of Christ.

The church where I served as volunteer women’s ministry director had an exciting vision to be a church for those who were turned off by traditional churches. As with most churches in that era, they had the three letters that represented the various aspects of ministry. Basically those areas in any church relate to introducing Christ, discipleship, and getting involved. The twist for this church was to make the message of Christ hit the needs of people who wanted more than to be known as someone who attended church. (Yes, this church was located in the Bible belt where that mattered.) Many, including me, had a history of being skeptical or disenchanted with church. They still had questions but wanted answers that go beyond what I call “Sunday school answers.”

The task for our women’s ministry, then, was to anticipate the unique questions women ask in each of the areas of finding Christ, discipleship and getting involved? You can adjust the question to fit the unique vision of your organization and your team. The point is to focus on what God is doing in the lives of those around you then allow God to use you to blend your specific ministry into this bigger picture.

Here are some ideas for finding your ministry’s spot in the bigger picture:

  • Read the mission statement for the church.
  • Discuss the vision with those who are most directly involved in determining the direction for the church. They may not call it a vision. You may want to word it this way, “If everything goes as you expect, describe the people that will make up this congregation a year from now, five years from now, ten years from now?”
  • Develop a relationship with the decision makers. Even if you are a volunteer, create a plan to meet regularly one-on-one with the staff position responsible for your ministry. Keep this person informed of what is going on and what dreams you have for the ministry. Find out what dreams he has for his bigger area of responsibility. What would he like to see happen in your area of ministry? Pray with this person each time you meet.
  • Be an observer. Ask God to open your eyes to what he is doing in your church. Who are the women in your church? What God-potential do you see in them?
  • Listen as an advocate. If you were the typical women in your church (not a leader), what questions, thoughts or actions would the weekend message stir in you?
  • Put it on paper. Either in words or with a picture, show how your ministry fits in the bigger picture. This may be parallel list showing each of the areas of ministry then a column showing how the church meets that need and another column showing how women’s ministry meets a unique need of women in that same area.

Don’t expect instant change. If you are leading an area with a long history, don’t be discouraged by the slow pace. God will lead you in the specifics day by day. As the leader, he has given you the joy of a glimpse of the big picture. Remember the leaders of the Old Testament listed in Hebrews 11 – Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses’ parents, Moses, Joshua and Israel, Rahab and many more.

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. Hebrews 11:39-40

Next month we’ll look at the organizational chart and how it serves as a lure in casting vision.

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the mission:
PROCLAIM the good news; HEAL the sick and oppressed; BRING JUSTICE
~ Luke 4:16-20

Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing (John 14:12)
~ Jesus 

Copyright 2005-2010 Lisa Biggs Crum
Email LisaCrum@Grow2Sow.org for reprint permission