by Robert C. Frank
When Pope Francis visited Brazil in the summer of 2013, he told the youth of that country to play on Christ’s team and help build up the church. Until recent years, the words “team” and “teamwork” have rarely been used in the Christian context in spite of the Apostle Paul’s indirect reference to Christian teamwork in his wonderful description of the Body of Christ. Often without realizing it, Christians have been teaching basic principles required for teamwork for over two thousand years. Now I think it is time to be bold and bring the words “team” and “teamwork” into the Christian language, a step vitally needed in our church congregations.
The team concept is important because efficiency of effort requires those on the team to work together faithfully in a coordinated manner toward a well-understood goal. Currently members of congregations typically volunteer for church activities only when they feel motivated and rarely have more than a vague understanding of how their effort contributes to reaching Christianity’s goal. When members understand that they are part of a team it stimulates loyalty, dedication, and purpose.
Writers like Philip Van Auken, author of Managing Ministry in Christian Organizations: A Team Approach, George Cladis, author of Leading the Team-Based Church, Wayne Cordeiro, author of Doing Church as a Team, and E. Stanley Ott, author of Transform Your Church With Ministry Teams have been trying to teach congregations to think like teams for a number of years. Dale Roach has used his www.likeateam.com web site for the same purpose. In spite of all their efforts, most church congregations are still reluctant to think of themselves as teams.
Robert C. Frank
Author of Christ’s Team