Training leaders for Team-Oriented Ministry

Engaging in ministry together as a team can simply be a stylistic preference for some of us.  However, there is also rationale for team-oriented ministry which could be considered integral to God’s intent and design for us as His laborers in the harvest.  Our conference brochure, for example, commends living in and preserving the Spirit-generated unity within the Family of God (Psalm 133; Eph 4).  The need to prioritize the unity of the Spirit throughout the Church cannot be over-emphasized, for God’s glory. 

In the creation story in the opening chapter of Genesis, as well as throughout Scripture, we observe that the very nature of the members of the Trinity is to exist and act in concert with one another.  This includes deferring to one another!  As we are made in the image of God, our relationships with one another are a criterion the world uses to judge whether our message is truthful (Francis Schaeffer; cf. John 17).  When we minister together, it is easier for people to recognize that we do not come in our own name, but IN THE NAME OF JESUS (Henri Nouwen).

Team-oriented ministry also demonstrates interdependence, which is our need for other individuals in a healthy, growing, vibrant community of strong Biblical relationships.  It is both the recognition that we have something to contribute and the realization that we need the contributions of others who have been equipped with complementary spiritual gifts for the collective benefit of the body (1Cor. 12:21-27).  This allows for church leaders to operate out of humble confidence rather than arrogant competence.

Also, team-oriented ministry exemplifies the priesthood of all believers and affirms the validity of every member as a minister “declaring the praises of him who called us out of darkness” (1 Peter 2:4-9).  This basic doctrine of protestant churches affirms not only our direct access to God, but in this context, the ability and even “commission” or “commandment” to represent Him and His message to one another and to our neighbors, near and far. 

For these reasons and more, we look forward to further insights on this subject at the spring district conference with pastor and author, Larry Osborne, April 11-12.