As I stated before in my previous post, The 21st Century Volunteer, society is changing along with the way people volunteer and the mindset of the volunteers. However, while these factors may have changed over the years several things did not and will not ever change when it comes to teamwork among volunteers.
“By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.”
Ecc 4:12 (MSG)
But what exactly is it that makes a group of volunteers become a unified team?
What about a fourth person? A fifth? No matter how many people are in your team, it’s clear that the author of Ecclesiastes is making the point that the more people on your team, the stronger you will be! Here are just a few characteristics of a true team! A lot of these characteristics cannot be taught, but with God’s guidance can be achieved by all as we draw closer to him. (Note: There are a lot more than these four, but these are just a few of my favorite)
1. A team must have humility!
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” Phil 2:3 (NLT)
Humility can be a hard thing to grasp at times depending on what life is hitting you or your volunteers with, and those who claim to have humility in their lives, well…you know the phrase, when a person claims to have humility they are often the one who needs it the most. But that’s besides the point! While it’s hard to claim humility for yourself and put it into practice, when it comes from the heart other team members will notice it! It even drives other team members to put others first!
2. A team must be selfless!
“Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Phil 2:4 (NLT)
Selflessness goes hand-in-hand with humility but is also a characteristic on its own! It doesn’t take much to show interest in what other team members are saying, and after taking that time your team members may come to realize how much they LIKE showing that interest in others. In children’s ministry this even goes down to listening to the child tell the really long and redundant story about his late night trip to Walmart with Uncle Lou. God notices this attitude and will not forget it.
3. A team must be united in Christ!
“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.” 1 Cor 12:4-6 (NLT, emphasis mine)
As members of the same team we have the same God! While we all most-likely have our differences from others on our teams when we come together under our unification through Christ we have the same motivator! Jesus wants us to minister to others, he chose us to minister to his children, and this means he want’s us to be a team for His kingdom and His purpose! Despite our differences we have the same Spirit, the same Lord, and the same God working in and through each of us and what He may speak to one of you he may speak to all of you either individually or through one member! There’s strength in numbers, so imagine the strength in numbers through unity in Christ!
4. A Team must love each other!
“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” Eph 4:2 (NLT)
There are so many verses in the Bible about loving others, Ephesians 4:2 is not the only verse I could use for this point, however I chose it for one reason: Ephesians 4 is about unity in the body of Christ! This is more than just loving your neighbor, this is loving your teammates! Paul was writing this letter to the Church in Ephesus hoping to bring them back to where they once were in their relationship with each other and in Christ. A team that is humble, gentle and patient to and with each other is a team that loves each other! Not the gushy kind of love, but a love where you being to genuinely care about your teammates. Relationships are built with your team members in various ways which I will leave up to you to find out how to build. But a team that loves each other, sticks together. And a team that loves each other will most likely tell other’s about this team and subconsciously (or even on consciously) recruit new members for your team in ministry!
Notice how much each one of those points build off of each other yet stand alone? When a team begins to develop just one of these characteristics they start developing all of the characteristics! How awesome is that?! God knew what he was doing when he designed teamwork, so where else to learn how to build a team than the Bible? God can take a regular volunteer and transform them to a valuable teammate.