ValuesEveryone knows that the core of a congregation must hold to common values to be successful in moving forward toward accomplishing their unique vision. But what about ministry teams? Certainly they should be on board with the general values of the church, but to work together well on a team, the people who are a part of it need to be operating with essentially the same mindset about how they are doing ministry.

For example, take work ethic. A value might be willingness to do whatever is necessary to get the job done. The team is committed to hard work and sacrifice. If you need to go over your regular hours to get something done, you do it. Now, if most of the team subscribe to that value, but one member is punching the clock and saying, “I’m done now, whether the task is finished or not,” you can see where that would cause problems. Now there are always times someone needs to leave work regardless and that can be necessary. But I’m talking about a consistent pattern of always leaving the rest of the team holding the bag. If they have to regularly pitch in to finish the work, that would likely cause resentment. To work together well on a team, everyone needs to be playing by the same rules.

Now, of course this example can go the other way too—I’m not advocating for a team dynamic of workaholism and driven-ness. The point is there needs to be mutual agreement about expectations on a team, and those expectations will need buy in from everyone on it. The same would hold true for how much team members are expected to pitch in to help one another in different ministry areas. At what point would a team member say, “No, I’m not helping with that. It’s not in my job description,” vs. an attitude of flexibility and interconnectedness between ministry areas. It wouldn’t work well to have half the team operating one way and the other half operating the other way.

Take some time together with your team to discuss norms and expectations in a wide variety of areas:

  1. How many hours a week do we work? When and where do we work those hours?
  2. To what degree do we pitch in to help where needed vs. being responsible for our own ministry area?
  3. Who is expected to provide pastoral care for who else?
  4. To what degree are the team members friends vs. to what degree are we co-workers?
  5. To what degree do we have the freedom to probe and ask questions and correct one another?

There are many possible questions to address, but doing so can help ensure the expectations and values are clear to everyone. Agreement on the bottom line issues that form the framework of the ministry philosophy is critical to a well-functioning team.

Photo by Josh Calabrese on Unsplash