Creative Team Building In Ladies Ministry
by Anita Lustrea and Melinda Schmidt
April 13, 2009
The NTSB official adamantly explained how the crew and passengers survived a near catastrophe in the incredible forced water landing of US Airways flight 1549 on the Hudson River in New York City back in January. The crew worked as a team, not as individuals, and that saved the lives of all 155 people aboard.
The message was clear: when individuals know how to work together as a team, it makes all the difference in the world.
The plus for women is that we to tend to move toward the team model intuitively, out of our instinctive desire for community. Let’s look at characteristics of a team that can translate both to the workplace and ministry context:
Where is it written that teams must be made up of six people, or any other number? Perhaps only three women have been assigned to a team, or that’s all that showed up for a volunteer assignment. Work with what you have. With an impassioned heart, and the Holy Spirit’s guidance, women can ignite the workplace or church.
Some women will continually complain about the resources their team doesn’t have to be successful. Remember, five loaves and two fish once fed 5,000 men plus women and children-and there were leftovers. Robin Chaddock (How to Find Your Personal Path to Success: Keys to Living Out Your Purpose and Passion) says God has already given us what we need in our own lunch bag. So open it up and start looking at what’s inside. It’s enough to get you started. If each team member does a self assessment, you’ll probably find that, collectively, you have most of the tools you need and the ingenuity to obtain the rest.
For the female demographic that, in the last century, made equality its banner, team members need to see each other as equal parts of the whole. Jennifer Epperson, Station Manager of WRMB in Boynton Beach, Fla., leads a group of staff and volunteers. This group meets regularly with the directive to each bring three ideas for ‘on air’ features. These seed thoughts have potential to grow into something valuable as others water it with their own input. This discipline brings together varied ideas that come from places like observing a TV show, an internet site, an inspiring piece of art, a comment from the Starbuck’s barista or someone at church to from observing the needs of others or from one’s own heart. At your next team meeting, each team member commit to bring three ideas to help move the group forward toward its call or to problem solve an issue. In this way, the head Deacon or Deaconess, the Women’s Ministry Leader or the group manager in the workplace is no longer responsible to solve everything nor always expected to drive creativity.
The Point Person
One member of the team will have to feel called to represent the group before supervisors, take the heat, and be an advocate for the team. Nurturing the team, seeking a godly way to work out conflict, keeping a watchful eye on the group dynamic and spiritually stimulating the group are qualities of the team point person. In our Midday Connection team I(Anita) ask each team member to take a one day spiritual retreat per month. We sometimes need to be nudged to do something like this, but the individual and the team will benefit from the overflow of this spiritual practice. It’s important to keep aware of personal situations and never be slow to allow time off when life is stressful, or to allow time to work offsite and away from the workplace when needed, if the job allows.
Retreats and Offsite Meetings
Inviting a team to throw on their jeans, bring their favorite hot beverage and gather in your home or other venue provides a wonderful, less structured environment in which the team, not just the point person, processes its forward movement. Here are some topics:
– What is working/ what isn’t
– What is overwhelming you/us?
– What’s hot with our clients or constituency? (Lifestyle issues, felt needs, fads, interests, technology abilities/desires)
– How can we stay a step ahead of what is competing against us
– Plan/fine tune the next quarter/year goals
– Go over our current work list
– Pray about all of this (may be inappropriate in the workplace)
Developing a team takes time, but as trust develops and the team gels you’ll be surprised
to see what God does if you truly care for the souls of your people and allow creativity to blossom.
Anita Lustrea and Melinda Schmidt are hosts of Midda Connection, a program heard on Moody Radio across the U.S. Anita Lustrea is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and has worked for Moody Radio since 1984.