LEADERSHIP MATTERS by Roger Yancey, D.Min.
With the Astros winning the World Series, those of us who are fans are grateful for a tight series with the Phillies. The teams both had amazing playoff games and are evenly matched in many ways. Even those who aren’t big baseball fans enjoyed the commitment these two teams have played with.
So in the spirit of the World Series I would like to offer what can make a baseball team great – and corresponding lessons that would be helpful to a church staff or team of leaders. Frankly, there is no shortage of opinions, articles or analysis of what makes a great team. I did read one article by Arthur Raise of particular interest. As he stated, “Baseball is a team sport and every player and team needs to be committed and passionate about the game.” To succeed every team whether major league, minor league, or local needs the following:
1. A team spirit and commitment to the game. The team must work as a single unit and be devoted to the game. They must live and breathe baseball.
2. The team must have a good support system of families, team owner, sponsors, the coach, school and college authorities and more need to understand the psyche of the team and create a strong impermeable support system.
3. The team must have a good coach who will lead the team in every way. The coach is the backbone of the team and needs to be tough and yet loving. He or she must care for the team and its every player. The coach must understand the team and its members better than he understands himself or herself.
4. The team must be devoted to the sport and yet understand that there is a world beyond baseball. So, every member must simultaneously prepare for life beyond baseball. Be trained in skills and have qualifications that will allow the player to live a fulfilled life after baseball.
5. Great focus must be placed on balanced nutrition and mental strength training. A strong mind and body makes a great baseball player. Team training must include aspects of health, nutrition, and mental strength. The team must have a balanced diet, a balanced exercise routine that includes breathing exercises and meditation techniques.
6. While winning can be the goal every team must play for sheer joy and each player must focus on his strengths and work out his weaknesses. The team must become an impregnable fort so that the opponents can never use kinks in the armor.”
So how would these apply to a Staff Team or a Team of Servant Leaders in a church Family? Same principles with a bit of adjustment would make them more applicable:
1. A team spirit and commitment to the Gospel. The team must work as a single unit and be devoted Christ followers. They must live and breath to bring glory to God.
2. The team must have a good support system of church families, church partners and supporters who join with them in fulfilling the Mission of the Church and the fulfillment of God’s unique intention for them.
3. The team must have a genuine Pastor who will lead provide healthy servant leadership. The pastor is a critical part of the team and needs to be tough and yet loving. He must care for the team and every member.
4. The team must be devoted to the Church and yet understand that there is a world beyond the Church. Work-Life balance is critical – all work and no play makes for an unhealthy staff or team of leaders. We need time to recharge, be with our families and have a life that is not fully defined by what happens within the Church.
5. Great focus must be placed on balanced nutrition and mental strength training. We are told to love God with all of our soul, mind and body. A strong mind and body makes us more effective and gives us stamina for the long-term.
6. We already won – Jesus saved us. But we are called to follow Him for the sheer joy of serving Him. Each team member must focus on their strengths and work out their weaknesses. The team must become an impregnable fort so that the enemy can never use kinks in the armor.”
Maybe you would agree – a great baseball team might have something to teach us about being an effective team.
In Kingdom service,
Executive Director/Associational Mission Strategist