Sunday, February 8, 2015

3 Characteristics of Amazing Team Players

Photo Credit: sampos via Compfight cc

It doesn't take long in Children's Ministry to realize that kidmin isn't a solo act. Paul calls us the body of Christ for a reason. Each of us only has a piece of this great puzzle we call the church, and it just doesn't work unless we discover how our pieces fit together.  

When we share our gifts and work as a team, awesome things happen. People's lives change. The church flourishes. When we try to do ministry alone, we sink fast, and ministry suffers.

Over the last couple of decades of doing Children's Ministry I've noticed some people seem to naturally thrive on a team. Others may be brilliant and talented individuals, but they ultimately fail because they're lone rangers and can never fully function as a team player.

Why is that? What characteristics make some people better team players than others? Here are three things I've seen in the best teammates I've ever had.  

As you read through them, think about people you know who are good examples of each trait and also consider where you need grow to become a better team player yourself.

1. Servants:  
These are the kind of people who show up to work hard and help the team win.  No task is too menial or beneath them.  “That’s not my job” isn’t in their vocabulary.  They are both helpful and humble. Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45 NLT) and these folks put that same attitude into action.  

2. Secure:  
Great team players have their identity anchored in Christ and Christ alone.  They have nothing to prove, no praise to earn.  They compare themselves to no one. They are not territorial or out to build their own ministry kingdoms, and they don’t care who gets the credit.  

This security also makes them extremely teachable.  They can handle criticism and constructive feedback and can honestly debate issues for the good of the team without getting their feelings hurt or being defensive.  

Think of the difference between John the Baptist and King Saul from the Old Testament. John was all about building God's kingdom. Saul was focused on building his own.

3. Self-Aware:  
Amazing teammates understand their strengths and weaknesses and what they have to bring to the team.  And even though they're willing to do whatever they can to jump in and help, they also know how they fit in the body of Christ, and how they can contribute best. On the flip side, they understand their limitations and any unhealthy tendencies that can trip them up and derail the team.  

Though he made many mistakes along the way, King David is a great example of someone who sought God's wisdom to understand his strengths and his weaknesses. 

Consider his prayer in Psalm 139:38-39: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life."  

So, as you read through this list, who came to mind as great examples of each character trait? Drop them an e-mail and tell them so. Or better yet, celebrate them in front of your entire team so that their example can become contagious. 

On a more personal level, which ones do you need to grow in to make a bigger impact in the body of Christ? Where are you strong? Where have you seen growth? Ask someone you trust and invite them to pray about it with you.

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