One group I’ve been working with appoints co-leaders for all roles in their missions work. I think that’s a great idea and it seems to be working well for them. The idea of ministry teams isn’t new. Jesus gave us the example when he sent out ministry pairs in Luke 10!
An oldie-but-goodie article published in Forbes Magazine, Feb 23, 1987, page 166, entitled “Two for the Money” did a great job of unpacking this topic. The Forbes Business Research Department surveyed thousands upon thousands of businesses and discovered that those that started as partnerships with at least two people involved were four times more likely to succeed than those started by solo entrepreneurs. If that’s true of businesses, it is certainly true of church planting and ministry.
Here are 4 reasons I’d attribute to that success:
1. Partnership means accountability
Accountability brings greater results. When you team in a partnership there is a built-in, sometimes even subconscious level of accountability. We all benefit from someone holding our feet to the fire. Even the most capable and dedicated leaders have tasks that are difficult or distasteful to them. Knowing someone else is depending on us to get the job done is a huge motivator.Accountability brings greater results. Click To Tweet
2. Teams allow for ongoing development
When working in teams, there may be an equal partnership or one of the people may be in more of an apprentice role. In any case, they each bring strengths to the team. They can both bring a unique perspective to the table. In a healthy working relationship, partners will learn from one another and sharpen one another.In a healthy working relationship, partners will learn from one another and sharpen one another. Click To Tweet
3. Partnership means a built-in sub is already in place
The unexpected is a sure thing. Sudden illnesses and family crises happen to everyone. Having two people teaming together allows for someone to step up if the other is unexpectedly unable to lead. Partnership allows for the freedom to be fully present away from work when the unexpected demands it. And that is a huge blessing.Partnership allows for the freedom to be fully present away from work when the unexpected demands it. And that is a huge blessing. Click To Tweet
4. Team foster support and encouragement
Another main reason that partners work better than individuals is the built-in support and encouragement. Being in the trenches together means there is someone by your side who is experiencing the same challenges and victories are you do. A healthy partnership will lift each other up, help each other stay on track, and propel each other forward toward their goals.A healthy partnership will lift each other up, help each other stay on track, and propel each other forward toward their goals. Click To Tweet
Generally, in ministry partnerships, one person functions as the point person and the other partners serve alongside them. In cases where there are two co-equal leaders working together and they disagree on direction and are unable to come to mutual agreement, it can be helpful to be part of a larger organization or network that can help bring everyone back into alignment.
Teaming people together is a good concept and can extend well beyond missions to any ministry service role. Everyone needs someone else: greeters and childcare workers routinely work on teams for support. Yet other roles that are often performed alone can be transformed into partnership roles. Worship team leader? Why not have two? They can support each other, challenge each other, help each other grow, and provide respite for each other. The same can be said for preaching and other traditionally solo roles.
Consider your own ministry context. In what areas might you replace individual leaders with partnership teams?
Barnabas Study! Over the six weeks of Lent, our blog posts will consist of devotionals surrounding one of my favorite biblical personages. Barnabas was marked with humility, wisdom, and encouragement. A fantastic meditation for the Lenten season! Join us as we look at the impact Barnabas made with practical application so that we too can make a difference like Barnabas!
If you are a leader or are coaching leaders, we recommend these resources as tools for discovery and development.
Leadership Effectiveness Profile- helps existing leaders and future leaders understand more about their relative leadership skills and determine where to target development activities in order to improve those skills.
Communication Effectiveness Profile- designed to help you understand more about your communication skills and to give you a picture of your overall ability to communicate effectively. This will help you determine where to target your development activities in order to improve your skills.
Team Building Effectiveness Profile- helps you understand your team-building related skills and determine areas to target for development in order to improve those skills.
The Leadership Difference- Effective ministry leadership begins with learning the Bible and theology, but we can also learn practical skills from others who have gone before us. If you are running up against barriers that aren’t specifically theological but are more about how to lead people and get along with them as you work together, The Leadership Difference is for you.
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