Responsibility and contributionOne of the most helpful things I’ve found for building solid teams is to make a distinction between responsibility and contribution. Responsibility is their job– what that person is responsible for. If it doesn’t get accomplished, they are held responsible because it was a clear part of their responsibility. However, I found that within a team, too much focus on one’s own area of responsibility creates a silo effect. Each person works only in their own area of responsibility and they don’t see how it connects with other areas or other team members.

One way to build a stronger team is to spend focused time on each staff person to identify their core strength and the main contribution they could bring to the broader team. Taking the time to pinpoint that allows time for them to be affirmed. For instance, somebody might have a real strength in sensitivity to newcomers—events or environments that are welcoming to newcomers. Another team member might have a strength in helping organize something into a system. The whole team can pinpoint and affirm these areas, which then forms the basis for that person’s contribution.

The team can then put these contributions to use. Each team member gives the others permission to speak into their ministry area in the realm of their contribution. For example, if you are in charge of children’s ministry, you can ask the person with a strength for making newcomers feel welcome for their input. Conversely, if you haven’t thought to ask, they have permission to give unsolicited input.

If you have a strength in systems and you notice how that could be improved in another ministry area, you have permission to say, “Can I share something with you?” In doing so, you’re not criticizing—you’re contributing to the team by offering your help and your strengths.

What that does is it allows for team building and great success as a whole. It utilizes people across the church system to contribute beyond just their area of responsibility. That creates a much stronger team.