Building Mighty Ministry Teams

About two years ago I had a tree in my backyard taken down, it was a 120 year old red oak.  I thought it would be a great idea if the tree guys would leave the large chunks of wood behind so that I could spend some time being a lumber jack.  10 months later the wood was finally cut.  There are two things I learned from this experience:

  1. Let the experts cut the wood
  2. I now know how to take a part a chainsaw and put it back together

What’s fascinating about a chainsaw (like any machine) is how each part is not only necessary but needed in it’s exact space.  Each gear needs to be on with the right screws and bolts.  Everything needs to be lubricated and correctly connected.  While this might be a mind blowing revelation for you all my question is, “Why is it obvious to us that the parts of a machine are important but when it comes to ministry we treat all of it’s parts like a sea of randomness?”
Probably because no one ever taught us how to put together the ultimate ministry team, or even a decent one.  And it’s a challenge to show others because when it comes to putting together a ministry team some of us are working from scratch while others are trying to revamp an old system.  So where do you start?

  • Prayer.  Always start with prayer (those of you who read my blog regularly should have guessed that by now).  God’s going to guide you in the first step, and He’s going to give you His patience and wisdom to make the decisions you need to make.  But after prayer:
  • Listen to Jethro.  No not the mechanic down the street, but Moses’ father in-law.  Surround yourself with like minded, God honoring men and women who are going to help you build or restructure your team.
  • Designate Parts.  This is something I’m bad at, but it’s so important.  We need to create roles, with specific job descriptions.  The best advice that I heard in regards to doing this is to make sure that job description can be said in one sentence so that it is always clear what each person needs to accomplish.  This is also a time to give vision, not just to your ministry but to their position, let them know what problem they are solving.  It not only gives them clarity but it gives them purpose.
  • Assign Systems. If you don’t have a system in your ministry everyone is going to be coming back to you asking you everything from, “Where do I sharpen the pencils?” to “How does my kid get more religion?”  This goes back to surrounding yourself with wise council; however, this time form a line of communication, make people the authority over certain areas and make sure people know who is king/queen of what castle.  You want to make clear paths for each of your ministers so that they now what to do, when to do it and how they are going to be who you’ve asked them to be.
  • Tweak, Tweak, Tweak.  You aren’t going to get it right the first, second, third or tenth time.  You need to constantly examine your systems and tweak them.  Never destroy and restart unless you are ready to undertake drastic changes.  Most times ministry issues are small tweaks such as realigning communication, repositioning a minister and clarifying a role.  The more your ministry grows, the more the times change, the more you are going to have to tweak.

I’m no expert, everything I’ve learned regarding this comes from some great books that I’ve read such as:

  • 7 Practices of Effective Ministry – Andy Stanley/Reggie Joiner
  • Good to Great – Jim Collins
  • Purpose Driven Youth Ministry – Doug Fields
  • Think Orange – Reggie Joiner

I’ve also learned a lot from others in the blogosphere and through networking.  I just want to thank all of you who take your time to pour what you’ve learned into my life and I hope I do the same.  With that said, feel free to share what it is you’ve learned about building a might ministry team.