effective teams and why I like them

Wouldn't that be a great title to an essay? I don't think it would be - but here's what I 've learned after out team training has finished:

There are a lot of teams out there - marriages, families, elder boards, mission boards, businesses, you name it. And most of them are ok. Some of them bad, some really bad, and a few of them are excellent, where the number of people in the team multiplies their effectiveness instead of just adding it. Where 2+2 = 6 or 8 or 10 or more instead of just 4. No Big Brother here, just the exponential power of TEAM! Haha. Just kidding. It was not a seminar by that tall guy with large teeth. But, as usual, I digress.

Teams are pretty much how we work together and most of the time that's frustrating. The Bible models teams for us. Christ models teams for us in the Body, how we interact and serve and live life together. When missionaries go out to do what they do, be that church planting or training and discipleship or building orphanages or whatever - we are more effective in ministry when we are working as an effective team. Not just a team, mind you, but an effective one.

And effective teams look a certain way, have certain characteristics. And none of them are perfect. We did an exercise where we got into groups of 5, were given a country, and then were told to figure out a plan for how to plant a church and then turn it over to the nationals. Jenny was on Team Ukraine, I was on Japan and another group of folks was on Italy. It was an awesome exercise! The point was not a flawless plan, but a functioning team. One team, because they had a German and an Iraqi, was multicultural and therefore complicated. Right before their presentation, one member was not passionate about it and said that he could not force his heart to get excited and he could not fake being excited. He was very apologetic, but could not do it. So the team chose, as a team, not to present. They chose the relationship of the team over the task.

I know what you're thinking. What is a team who doesn't complete the task? They failed! But they didn't! They considered another more important than themselves. Because in other cultures (every other culture except the US and a few other countries) people are more important than the task. A strange concept. And we're not supposed to not do anything, but only that we have to weigh both people and task equally.

And that's about 5% of what we learned. Invaluable.

Anyway - I have to write a paper on Followership - the concept of the importance of being a follower in a team. Fascinating.


Doug & Rebecca & the Crew said...

Hola! I just stumbled upon your blog via I like the title of this post! :^)

My kids are busily re-quoting your phrase, "There's no 'i' in team" and added, "there's an 'i' in...mediocre." I thought it was appropriate!

Anyway, blessings to your ministry! I look forward to getting to know you better as I read more of your blog!

Doug & Rebecca & the Crew said...

I just re-read my comment, and realized that if you didn't know my family, you'd think I just insulted your post. Sigh. I must be tired. Anyway, it was NOT meant as an insinuation that your post was mediocre. Just that my kids liked your "there's no 'i' in team" comment and it started them on a movie-line-quoting-spree.


Brandon and Jenny said...

NO problem. We thought it was funny the first time. There is an 'i' in "insult", thought.

Ha. :-) Just kidding.

I hope you enjoy the blog - gracias por su servicio en el nombre de Cristo!

Mike Messerli said...

can I read your paper when you get it done?

and, will I get to see you before you go south?

mutating missionary said...

I think the reality of the task vs. the person is something that I have found invaluable here. Americans just think differently. And in serving others we must remove ourselves from culture and focus on the Truths that don't bend. Bravo! I'm thankful you are getting this training!