Team Huddle

Effective leadership teams make effective ministries. Teams— even the best ones—struggle when workaday minutia, tasks and deadlines take center stage. Without occasional, dedicated times of renewal, revitalization and maintenance, teams will fragment and lose their focus. As the new year approaches, consider hosting a retreat to strengthen the bonds of your team. Read on for some great team-building exercises.

Restore Vision

Some may have lost their passion. Some may be new to the ministry and are unaware of its history. As the leader, it is up to you to impart your vision and passion to your team. If you aren’t excited about what God is doing, why should they be?

Create a slideshow depicting your ministry’s history. Once your team under-stands the legacy that God has begun, they will want to be instrumental in help-ing it continue.

Set aside a devotional time at the beginning of the retreat and ask your team to reflect on three things: what they wish they could change about the ministry or their own performance, what new things they want to do as a part of the minis-try, and what things the ministry is doing currently that they want to continue.

Instill Ownership

For a team to thrive, they must make it personal. A mission statement cannot just be a document; it must be alive in all facets of the ministry. Are there misperceptions about the true purpose of your ministry? Is your mission statement outdated?

The retreat may be the perfect time to involve your team in the creation of a new mission statement. See for mission statement formats and examples.

If your mission statement still embodies your purpose as a group, then have team members share specific examples of how it lives in the ministry.

Build Trust

In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni says, “trust lies at the heart of a functioning, cohesive team. Without it, teamwork is all but impossible.” Your team must believe in the goodness of each other’s intentions, and believe that if they are vulnera-ble, it will not be used against them later.

Hold an open forum and discuss the positive attributes of trust: admitting weak-ness, confessing mistakes, asking for help, accepting criticism, giving the benefit of the doubt, etc.

Encourage each member to model trust by sharing a personal fear or weakness. After each member shares, ask for a volunteer to pray for that person. Continue until all have shared, and then go to prayer for each other.

Resolve Conflict

Conflict is normal, but should not be tolerated or ignored. Studies indicate that few of us resolve conflict well. You may want to spend part or all of a retreat talking about con-flict, styles of conflict resolution and steps to resolving conflict.

In preparation, visit for related articles and resources on conflict resolution.

Develop a commonly shared statement of how your team will resolve conflict with one another in a Biblical fashion. Specifying the actual steps to be taken when a conflict arises can be very helpful.

Honor Differences

Recognizing and honoring differences within your team helps eliminate judgment and highlights the various strengths each member brings to the table.

Rev. Al Ells M.C.

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