The best picture I have of a team is “The A Team.” No, not the movie Mr. T was in. It’s a group of men and women who wear t-shirts that say, “We love because He first loved us. -1 John 4:19.” They spend their summers driving church vans, their Friday nights leading games and their Sunday mornings teaching Bible lessons. The A Team is a youth ministry volunteer team at a church where I served for 10 years. Every member played a different, but equally important, role in sharing God’s love with teenagers. How did it form and grow, and what does it have to do with church communication?
We Realized We Couldn’t Do Ministry on Our Own
Before the A Team, there was just a director and an assistant director of youth ministry. Neither of us were particularly detail-oriented or organized, and we needed some people to whip us into shape. Both of us spent long nights at the church trying to minister to every single teenager. After a while we needed a break. A big part of building a team is realizing you can’t do everything on your own. We needed more people.
In order to make our team better, we had to know what exactly we were missing. Figure out where your team is lacking and who you need to fix it. If you can answer these two questions, then your work will be better, and you’ll reach more people.
We Hired and Recruited
A significant step in our team building was bringing our secretary on full time and putting her in charge of the details. We planned and showed up for all events, while she rented the buses, handled the paperwork and took the phone calls. Giving our secretary added responsibility validated her attention to detail, which had previously gone unnoticed. The A Team was 100% volunteers, and they ranged from party planners to lesson teachers to activity leaders to headcount-counters. Either we found people with the personality or skills we needed via word of mouth, or we posted our specific needs church-wide and opened our doors to anyone who wanted to help.
The ideal result with recruitment was that people would always be doing the work they wanted and signed on to do. That makes for happy volunteers, not frustrated, disappointed or exhausted volunteers.
Every year we took our A Team on a retreat where we got to know each other, communicated important information and cast a vision for the year ahead. In other words, we got everybody on the same page. The goal of the retreat was for A Teamers to know where our youth ministry was headed and what their unique roles were in taking us there. Training continued after the retreat with monthly meetings. For 10 years we met on the second Tuesday of the month to track progress, encourage and correct. We found accountability and regularity to be really important and helpful. This kept our meetings on track and promoted organization.
One of the greatest things we ever did for our A Team was host an annual Christmas party for them. At the party we served special food, made simple conversation and socializing a goal, and entertained them with songs, poems and skits that highlighted the work they did. This party was fun and focused on them as real people doing meaningful and significant work.
Over time, every team member became known for the work they did for our youth ministry. The applause first came from the staff: writing thank you notes, saying kind things about people in front of the large group, giving special gifts. But after a while team members began to applaud each other as they recognized how valuable each of their contributions were. The social butterfly realized how important it was to have someone track weekly attendance. The Bible scholar understood the value of the loving shepherd. The bus driver appreciated the secretary.
What About Your Team?
Fill in the blanks for your particular team. What skills are you lacking? What type of personality would enhance your team dynamic? And finally, how can you enjoy each other’s company and help one another out? If there’s any secret to building a lasting and effective team, it’s seeing God in each other and helping bring out his best in our work.
The above article, “How to Build a Promotions Ministry Team at Your Church” is written by Erin Willams. The article was excerpted from: www.churchmarketing.com web site. August 2014.
The material is copyrighted and should not reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.