Gathering a prayer team is critical for us as we begin the new community. There are those that pray on the ground in a local setting and those that are more distant. Our target is 100 people praying from outside the locality and this has been surprisingly simple to set up, the age of social media is your friend in this.
We have spread the net wide and have chosen a ‘zero policing’ policy, so I will not be checking up on who is following through on their commitment but have deliberately kept the bar low – pray intentionally at least once a month and I will commit to pray for them too, as well as informing them regularly. So the plan is as follows;
- 100 people in the wide net – these folk are gathered from friendships, contacts and social media. They commit to pray intentionally once a month and in return they receive information to fuel their prayer and I have committed to pray for them too. They receive information via email or a private Facebook group, maximum twice a month.
- 12 people in the boat – these 12 are close friends where I can share more deeply in the issues for prayer. These folk will be those that have shared a much deeper interest and are known to be warriors in prayer. This takes a while longer to set up and is still a work in progress, but vital.
- 3 Officers in charge – 3 prayer commandoes who meet to share guts and all, for prayer and encouragement.
It is impossible to know who wants to join prayer lists for ‘nosey faith encouragement’ but if people make a level of commitment, you must trust them. The close at hand people have to be trusted friends because you are sharing more personally. This is only right.
I have been blessed with a prayer team and whilst still in formation, we have seen many good answers to prayer and have known our arm is strengthened in ministry. We value our prayer support team, they are incredible.
If you have worked in a team, you will know the score. There will be someone who doesn’t pull their weight, who holds people back or causes trouble for the rest of the team. If the leader delays or fails to deal with it, it may not only destroy the team but it can damage the leaders authority.
These issues need to be dealt with immediately and openly. It will benefit the whole team. The danger of ignoring the problems will include:
- Loss of respect – because you allow things to continue unchecked
- Loss of authority – people will begin to doubt your leadership
- Loss of staff – good staff members will become frustrated and may even leave
- Loss of performance – why should anyone on the team perform higher than the lowest common denominator?
If there is a problem, deal with it quickly and decisively
Currently, the football (soccer) world was taken by storm by an unheralded Leicester team that won through an emphatic season. Their was no stand out stars although certain names began to emerge. Similar to Greece in 2004 when they won the Euros with a group of players that were unknown to a wider audience. This is unusual, most teams will have a player who is considered a star and if the team is fortunate, they will have a number of stars (cf Real Madrid and their Galacticos).
However, it should be remembered that in team sports, a star player cannot win on their own. Think Pele with Brazil, Michael Jordan with the Chicago Bulls, Kobe Bryant with the Lakers. None of these celebrity players could have won on their own – they needed a team around them, most of whom remain forgotten in the mists of time but were essential to the success of the team.
So it is with Church. There are many who would choose to be the Apostle Paul (yet shy away from the persecution and suffering), yet even Paul needed his support people. Many would like to be the author of a great book, new course, on the platform at the global conferences etc. etc. but we cannot ever lose sight of the community of faith. We are all called to play our part and to engage with the mission. Not all of us will receive the credit, praise or be given a platform but all of us are called to love one another, seek each others best interest and to honour the name of God.
Let’s serve the team and be humble enough to accept our place within it. Lets be satisfied to be the Horace Grant, Steve Kerr, Brian Shaw, or Wilson Piazza on our team.
So often, Christian leaders are looking for the team to have total agreement. Whilst we need unity in decision making, we must place greater value in those that challenge the status quo. Dissenting voices may not be right but they help to sharpen us. There are times they are right and we need to change. Whichever, we need to take them seriously as an ally and not as a threat.
Do not despise the dissenting voice, heed the words, reflect and then decide. You will be stronger for it.
Another short reflection for the Facebook devotions of Emmanuel Beach Team
“The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:17
The ‘Black Friday’ deals were a revelation in the UK this year, the clamour for belongings and the desire to have more ‘stuff’, yet despite this, there will then be the boxing day sales and the new year extravagance. The opulence of the super wealthy against the world’s poorest people is beyond comprehension, yet we continually see the tension for the people that love Jesus – how much ‘stuff’ is necessary? Jesus was born in a borrowed stable, died in a risen tomb but now sits at the right hand of the Father. It is not worldly wealth and possessions that will sustain us, it is a heart set on Jesus. There is nothing wrong with having possessions, it is how we view them and how we use them that matter. What are the important things in our lives?
Do you love Him? Will you obey His commands? Do you walk like Jesus walked? One thing that money cannot buy – eternal life. However, it is freely given. Where are your desires placed? In the will of the Father? Get it right and true life will be yours.
As a follow up to my recent post on flexibility, there is a need to talk about adaptability too. Adaptability is different but also exceedingly important.
Adaptability is a gift that allows some individuals to respond with their changing environment. Plans may take a different shape and alter at a moments notice, this is when the team leader requires the skill of adapting. It is not every leader who has this ability but every good team has an individual with this ability. It prevents the project from grinding to a halt, it stops hurdles remaining as a permanent stumbling block and it is the ability to ‘find a way’.
If you are on a route for which there are no roadmaps, you need someone on your team who is adaptable….if you do not have that individual, then it may be wise to find them, before it is too late.
One of the sessions at the conference was led by Bill Hybels. He shared some good stuff that was good to hear again and refreshing in its clarity and directness.
Part of his talk was dealing with the need to attract, develop and retain a good team and he used his “5Cs” to good effect. They are:
He suggested that, if even one of these is compromised there will be issues on your team and that it is imperative that the leader takes time to ensure these 5 things align.
Some of the sound bytes are below:
“It is not illegal to like the people on your team”
“A high capacity person under challenged will leave”
“The best thing you bring is a Holy Spirit filled you”
‘A contrarian point of view is ok, a contrarian spirit is not’ (paraphrase)
One of the reasons that encouraged me to attend the HTB Leadership Conference was the attendance of Patrick Lencioni. I enjoy his writings and appreciate his communication style. In truth, I received far more all round than anticipated, the Conference was superb.
Lencioni did not let me down. On the 2nd day he spoke about team and used material from his book, the The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (J-B Lencioni Series)”
If you have read the book, you may well know his headings and the leaders role;
1) Absence of Trust – the leader needs to be vulnerable to the team
2) Fear of conflict – the leader needs to embrace difference of opinion
3) Lack of commitment – the leader needs to bring clarity and decision
4) Avoidance of accountability – peer accountability to be encouraged and difficulties confronted
5) Inattention to results – focus on what you are trying to achieve
His talk was excellent, inspiring and full of content. There were plenty of nuggets to steal away and if you missed it, buy the book, you will not regret it.
Many years ago, I remember laughing at the phrase;
“If you assume, it will make an ass of u and me”.
For a few days, assumptions ceased and communications increased but this did not last long. At a conference (on the subject of leadership) and chatting to a few folk have made me realise that one of the biggest trouble spots for leaders is the assumptions they make regarding their teams, team members and the people with whom they interact.
‘We thought you would be too busy‘, ‘we believed that you would not be interested‘ and the list goes on. These kind of assumptions can sometimes be right but there is also a danger that regular assumption can lead to fractures of trust and thereafter a breakdown of the team.
Assumptions can be dangerous, it is always more wise to know the facts and the best way to know the facts may be by asking people directly. That wise saying that once made me laugh has more truth in it than many of us wish to believe.