In my 10+ years in ministry, I have been a part of several ministry teams and staffs. As I see it, there are really about three types of ministry teams and interestingly enough, they have parallels in the world of sports.
1. American Tennis Players – One type of team is much like Americans on the US Tennis Team. They play an individual sport, have a personal record, and travel with their own entourage, coaches, and trainers. In a way they are completely individuals, but with an allegiance to their particular nation. So when the Olympics come around or when another American is in the running for a championship, they support the overall team.
In ministry, I have been on some teams where I was an island unto myself. I had my own calendar of events, my own entourage of volunteers and supporters and my own goals and objectives. I didn’t interact much with others on the staff. But every once in a while I would need to cheer on the overall team and I would come off my island and join the rally cry. Unfortunately, those were rare occasions.
2. Ryder Cup Golf Team – Another team is like the Ryder Cup. The Ryder Cup team is made up of professional golfers from the states competing against those from across the pond. Everyone one wears the same uniform and cheers for their teammates. But still they are playing as individuals. They want to win as a group, but compete individually.
My current ministry team is somewhat like this. We all play for the same institution, but we are individuals in our own right. We wear the school colors and focus on big ticket items together, but individual play is what keeps us on the team. You have to perform and do your best as individual in order to be recognized. Everyone cheers for one another, but knows deep down you are on your own.
3. Offensive Line for Professional Football Team – An offensive line must move together, think together, and perform together. Once the ball is snapped, they move as a collective unit. Each has their own blocking assignments, but there is a fluidity to their motion and determination. When they move together, the team succeeds. If they fail, the team fails.
I have only been a ministry team that acted like this once. It was a great team experience. There was unity and fluidity in the way we worked and thought together. We acted as a collective unit. When one succeed, all succeeded. When one failed, everyone failed. I really miss these days sometimes.
I wonder what kind of teams you have been a part of in ministry or in your chosen career. Any like sports teams?