There are 10 Core Principles for ministry teamwork that our church staff has adopted. These 10 have helped our staff through our most excited days and challenging setbacks. Collaborate then Cooperate is #2.
God has sent you other personalities – use them
Collaboration is the ability to work together as a team. If I were more highly gifted I might be tempted to go at it alone – taking all of the responsibility, authority, and accolades. But alas, I’m only moderately gifted at a few things. Therefore, if I’m going to succeed beyond my own ability I’d better surround myself with a highly gifted team. And I better utilize them.
Pride and insecurity can often be stumbling stones to true collaboration. A pastor may be unwilling to hear constructive criticism about his sermon. A worship leader may bristle at musical suggestion. A small group leader may be convinced that his way is the ONLY way EVERY time. Conversely, tone and brashness are often contributing factors to someone being unwilling to hear constructive criticism. A gentle reminder from a supportive congregant is a lot easier to digest than a sarcastic rebuke from a disgruntled know-it-all. They may have the same message – but only one will be heard.
I’ve learned that some people are seldom heard for they know not how to speak!
Discussions may get passionate but never personal
To have a productive collaborative discussion the titles have to be dropped temporarily. Now it’s just a couple of Jesus followers discussing an idea, event, sermon, or Bible passage. This allows open and free discussion to ensue. I’ve learned that nearly every person has passionate points of view. And each of these views can add SO MUCH value to your project. The goal is to get your team to communicate their point of view with passion. These moments of passionate collaboration can be absolutely magical and extremely beneficial for the Kingdom of our Father. But be careful, for in these moments of passion it can easily get personal.
In a moment the Holy Spirit can be grieved and the flesh take control.
When the conversation moves from “I don’t like that idea” to “I don’t like you” it’s gone to far. Therefore, collaborative discussions ought begin in prayer. Throughout the entire discussion we ought seek to allow the Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts and words. Allow your passion to be directed at advancing the mission rather than your agenda. Always remember that the other people in the room are beloved children of your Heavenly Father – to be dismissive or disrespectful of these people is to be dismissive and disrespectful of the Father.
Respect the Authority
When the final call has ben made it becomes “Our Decision”. Often times Fred Murray (my administrative pastor) and I have found ourselves on opposite sides of an issue. We’ve collaborated, we’ve passionately expressed our positions, and now a final decision has to be made. More times than I can count I have found myself being persuaded by Fred’s arguments and we’re able to present a unified front as we announce our direction. But there have been other times I have remained resolute in my decision and gone against his counsel. In these moments I have found Fred to be especially supportive. When speaking to the staff, deacons, or church he has courageously submitted his will to mine and presents the final decision as our decision.
In the same way a mother and father can bring insecurity into the home by projecting a divided front so a pastoral staff can bring insecurity into the church. It’s not that dad and mom don’t argue – its just that they are wise to not do so in front of the kids. It’s not that the deacons, leadership team, and staff don’t have disagreements – it’s just that we understand these disagreements don’t have to include the very young Christians who may stumble at such discussions.
In the end there is always a final decision maker. When the person who has been granted that authority by the Lord and the local congregation makes the final decision – there must be a willingness to follow – a willingness to cooperate. Otherwise collaboration turns into anarchy.
With so many valuable people brought into the same organization it’s important to utilize the gifts of each person. These three concepts help us to Collaborate and Cooperate with great efficiency. Next week I will share Core Principle #3 – Work the S.Y.S.T.E.M.
With whom do you collaborate? Why can it be difficult to cooperate after a heated collaboration session? Comment Below:
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