What Makes a Successful Church Team?

Google spent 2 years studying 180 teams, and most successful ones shared these 5 traits. What can we learn from this, knowing that humans are humans, and we all have tasks to do, and objectives to fulfill, whether you are in the marketplace, or in church?

1. Dependability.
Team members get things done on time and meet expectations.

This is a bugbear for some churches. It is a known fact that some churches do not appraisal their staff. This means that there is no way to measure performance. Hence, staff may not have the motivation to perform – getting things done on times, and meeting expectations.

2. Structure and clarity.
High-performing teams have clear goals, and have well-defined roles within the group.

Because the small churches are strapped for resources, a single ministry staff may straddle several portfolios, and unclear goals and roles. Hence, it is critical for staff to be clear about their roles, even if the church is short-handed. The good side-effect, could be that church management will see more clearly, the need to hire more people from the exercise of defining goals and roles.

3. Meaning.
The work has personal significance to each member.

This is where the volunteer paradigm comes in. Every member of the church counts, and needs to know how they are connected in the overall scheme of God’s business. Focus on gifts and talents, and how they fit in the overall picture of the church’s mission and vision.

4. Impact.
The group believes their work is purposeful and positively impacts the greater good.

Does the staff and members of the church find purpose to work for one another? Do they think what they do has an impact? Is worship, equipping, discipleship and evangelism the end, or are they the means to the end, which is God’s mission for church? 

Yes, that’s four, not five. The last one stood out from the rest:

5. Psychological Safety.
We’ve all been in meetings and, due to the fear of seeming incompetent, have held back questions or ideas. I get it. It’s unnerving to feel like you’re in an environment where everything you do or say is under a microscope. But imagine a different setting, . A situation in which everyone is safe to take risks, voice their opinions, and ask judgment-free questions. A culture where managers provide air cover and create safe zones so employees can let down their guard. That’s psychological safety.

Some churches are highly judgmental and unforgiving, and much less nurturing. They preach forgiveness and acceptance of sinners, but their actions speaks otherwise. In a small group, if acceptance is not there, correction will not be received gladly. There will be resentment and negative feelings. Some self-righteous members see their roles as “policemen” of the truth, forgetting that their role is to accept, love and convict them of their sin, not judge them. Leave judgement to God. Matthew 7:1 says that very clearly – “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

Instead, we are asked to “love one another” as shared by our Lord in John 13:34-35:

34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Let us take a tip or two from the study, contextualise into our church, and see how we can build more success – for our Lord’s “business”. Amen.