“The ‘C’ students run the world.” – President Harry S. Truman
The need for “C” students …
Effective ministry is a team activity. In order to leverage gifts and skills to advance God’s kingdom people need to work together as a team. You want to be part of a team of people with common passions and complimentary skills. When you start to think about being part of a team it is typical to consider what kind of teammates you want on the team with you. However, you may not be as quick to contemplate what kind of team member you want to be. The following is a list of traits that I want to embody (and that I look for in teammates):
God places a premium on Christ-like character in selecting leaders [1Tim. 3, Titus 1, Gal. 5:22-23]. Be a person who reflects Christ-like character. While ability and dynamic personality tend to be attractive elements they are counter-productive for the kingdom if not bridled by character. Over time, you’ll discover that character is the most important qualification. If something makes you feel uneasy about another person’s character it is probably wise to be very slow to put them on your team.
You want to be the type of person that other people on the team know will be faithful to fulfill their responsibilities and commitments to the team. Christians are free to come and go as God leads them. Yet I want my reputation to be that I am committed to complete the work that I’ve taken on. The amount of energy needed to train team members and forge a healthy team dynamic encourage me to be committed and look for committed people in ministry (and life generally).
Seek team members who generally share the same vision philosophy of ministry and doctrinal views as you. There will always be slight divergence regarding non-essential issues and variation in style or approach. However there needs to be consensus. If the team doesn’t understand the vision and agree with the vision then there will definitely be confusion and conflict among the team. Therefore for you to be able to establish consensus you need to know what you believe, why you believe it, where you are, and where you believe that God is leading. In essence you need to know your philosophy of ministry doctrine and vision. Then you can develop consensus.
Are you and other team members able to develop your gifts and use skills effectively? Develop your God-given skills to achieve greater competency and look for others who want to do the same. In other words can you do the work that is required today, and if God blesses the effort and the influence expands are you willing to develop greater capacity to continue to be competent? What is you present level of competency and what is your perceived future capacity?
We place a premium on the community experience and seek teammates who desire the same [Ac. 2:42-47]. You’re going to spend a lot of time serving and working together so it is best to find people you enjoy being with. No matter how talented someone is, if it feels like you’re banging your head against a wall being with him it’s probably not a good idea for him or her to be on your core team. Incompatibility may be unrelated to someone’s character. They may have great character but the personalities simply don’t mesh. Be the type of person that can be compatible with as many different kinds of people as possible, and then seek to develop team with others that are compatible with you.
Jesus trains His disciples to be compassionate people who care for the needs of other people [Mk. 6:34]. If you are talented but lack compassion you may experience some measure of success as the world defines it, but you will not be successful as the Lord desires and requires. Some leaders are very focused on achieving a task. That is a helpful trait in leaders, but if they don’t have genuine compassion for people then the task becomes the priority rather than the people who will benefit from the achieved task. So you need people on the team who care about people not just accomplishing a task.
Learn to take chances as led by God – steps of faith. Life and ministry require courage. Nevertheless, it can be very frightening, even for godly people to cross the Jordan and embark on a conquest of the Promised Land [Josh. 1:1-9]. People will fear: the challenges, failure, measuring up to another (leader), and letting go of the known in favor of the unknown. Develop your God-given courage by taking ventures of faith. Small steps of faith that are blessed by Christ encourage larger leaps of faith. There is a difference between courage and simply impulsive or adventurous behavior. Ventures of faith and courage are Spirit-prompted and glorify God. Be strong and of good courage and surround yourself with teammates who will also be courageous.
What are you called to? In different seasons of life and ministry you will discover different callings. Your calling will always be something that honors God (or it isn’t your calling), and will tend to maximize or leverage your gifts and abilities. Your calling is likely related to something that you are passionate about. What moves you to cry or to laugh? What keeps you up at night or causes you to wake early in the morning? As you experience life seek to discern what you are called to be and to do. You will never find satisfaction until you discover and fulfill your calling. Once you have a sense of what you are called to then find others with a common or complimentary calling.
Finally, avoid the temptation to try and manipulate people to join your team because you believe they will help your effort apart from a sense of confirmation from God that they too are called to the team.
President Truman famously remarked, “The ‘C’ students run the world.” In an ideal world, I’d suggest the “C” students advance the kingdom. So be a “C” student.
Pastor Bruce Zachary planted Calvary Nexus in Camarillo, CA and is the director of Calvary Church Planting Network. Many of his resources are available for free online, including Kingdom Leaders and theChurch Planting Manual. You can follow Pastor Bruce on Facebook and Twitter @BruceZachary.