If you are in youth ministry you are working with teams.  You have small group leaders, worship teams, tech teams, evangelism teams, and the list could go on and on.  I always felt that I was not doing a good enough job of getting my teams working to their full potential.

If your team is not working well, there is not a chance that you will be able to accomplish everything you want to in your ministry.

I recently read the book, The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni. In it he describes the 5 steps to building a cohesive leadership team.

 Step 1 – Building Trust

Your team does ministry together and as a result they spend lots of time together, but do they trust each other?  Are people willing to say, “I messed up.”

Trust is built when people are willing to be vulnerable with each other.  Lencioni stresses that at the heart of vulnerability lies the willingness of people to abandon their pride and their fear, to sacrifice their egos for the collective good of the team.

Can you say you do this?  Does your team?

 Step 2 – Mastering Conflict

Lets say it all together, “healthy conflict is a good thing!”  We avoid conflict because it makes us uncomfortable.  Conflict that is not attacking but constructive shows that people are invested and passionate.  Plus the best ideas come from conflict.

As the leader when conflict happens among your team in a meeting you need to pause and remind everyone that this is healthy.  If you don’t do this then all you will have is a bunch of lemmings that don’t have an original thought.

 Step 3 – Achieving Commitment

Lencioni argues that the reason conflict is so important is that a team cannot achieve commitment without it.  People will not actively commit to a decision if they have not had the opportunity to provide input, ask questions, and understand the rationale behind it.  Another way to say this is, “If people don’t weigh in, they can’t buy in”

Does you team have a strong sense of buy in?

 Step 4 – Embracing Accountability

I have often felt uncomfortable holding volunteers accountable.  The problem is that when there is no accountability then there is no buy in.  Accountability creates ownership and a team working together. The best kind of accountability is peer to peer.

Does everyone on your team know what is expected of them?  If they don’t follow through are they held accountable?

 Step 5 – Focus on Results

The ultimate point of building greater trust, conflict, commitment and accountability is one thing: the achievement of results.  In a business the results might be selling more product or increasing profit margins.

I think for us the results are introducing students to Jesus and helping them to become more like Jesus.

Does your team focus on this?  How is it measured?

If you haven’t yet you will quickly learn that you will be so much more effective in ministry with a healthy team.  So the responsibility is on you to build that team!

What ideas do you have to build a healthy team?

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Tyson Howells

Tyson is the associate youth ministry director for Vanguard Youth Ministry Institute. He has been a youth pastor for many years in Winnipeg as well as in Edmonton. Tyson is passionate in seeing relational youth ministry that results in youth that are passionate about following Jesus. He still leads a small group at the youth group in his home church.