The Strength of a Team

Thoughts on team ministry from dialogues with a missionary friend, Dave M.

The strength of a team is the composite of the strengths of the individuals.
The unity of a team is built around the weaknesses of each individual.

True, false or something in between?

Some would say that a team is only as strong as its weakest member.  This may be true in essential character areas, like faithfulness.  But the members of a team are less like links in a chain (linear) and more like the threads of a net.  This is the influence or benefit of synergy, in which the whole is stronger than the individual parts because they are woven together.

Some questions

Do we let the strengths of all members of a team show?  Do we value the different strengths?  Or do we allow the strengths of one or two members of the team to overshadow the rest?

This is where we typically miss the interplay in 1 Corinthians 12:21, “the eye can’t say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you.'” By allowing certain types of strengths to dominate we leave others feeling less important and not valued, 1 Corinthians 12:15, “because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body.”

So we must look at the strengths of a team before we set the plan for the team.

How about weaknesses?

Often the strengths of individuals on a team taken to an extreme become weaknesses, particularly when driven by pride and/or self-sufficiency. These weaknesses then cause conflict which can lead to disunity, particularly when driven by pride and self-centeredness (“if everyone were like me, we’d be doing great”).

To the extent we understand the weaknesses of team members and have the ability to overlook those weaknesses when appropriate, yet deal with those weaknesses when needed–will determine the depth of the unity of the team.

This also requires that individual team members own or embrace their own weaknesses.  This is evidenced when a team member can celebrate the strengths of others in areas of their own weaknesses rather than being threatened by them.

No matter how strong a team, without unity effectiveness is hampered or potentially neutralized. Better a group of “normal” people–blending together their strengths (gifts, abilities, experiences) and their weaknesses for God’s purpose and for God’s glory–than a handful of “experts” who can’t meld together.

Your thoughts?

Author: Steve

Steve Kilgore joined the staff of Calvary Church in Lancaster, PA in the fall of 2002 as the Pastor of Discipleship to facilitate the equipping ministries, which include Adult Bible Fellowship and other adult discipleship ministries, and work with the rest of the education ministries. He currently serves as the Executive Pastor of Ministries with a focus on providing ministries that facility individuals taking intentional Next Steps for growing and participating in the leadership and administrative aspect at Calvary. He has also taught part-time at Lancaster Bible College in the area of Spiritual Formation and New Testament. Prior to coming to Calvary he served in two churches as well as taught part-time at Philadelphia Biblical University. He was born in Dallas, Texas, but spent the first 13 years of his life in Guatemala where his parents were missionaries. It was there at the age of four and a half that Steve placed his faith in Christ as his Savior. Steve received a Bachelor’s degree in Bible from Philadelphia College of Bible and a Masters of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Steve and his wife, Mary Anne, have their two boys, Andrew and Nathan (both in college), and live in East Lampeter Township. Steve lives and ministers by the personal motto, Know what you believe and why, live it, be able to defend it. His hobbies, other than playing with his family, include tinkering with computers, reading, drinking coffee with his wife, playing and watching basketball. Steve and Mary Anne are looking forward to exploring new hobbies as they transition to life as empty-nesters.

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