I grew up around the ballpark, gym, and football field as a kid. It’s where some of my greatest childhood memories were made with my family. From playing wall ball at Knecht Park in Palm Bay, FL during Little League season, shooting baskets on the court during the game while the ball was on the other end of the floor and getting yelled at by the refs, to pickup football games with my buddies while I was supposed to be watching the local high school football team play on a Friday night. I can smell the popcorn, the grass, and the distinct smell of the ratty gym. My childhood was awesome.
Some of my greatest childhood memories were there. But most of them came from being on the team, not in the stands. There’s something incredible about being a part of a team. The camaraderie. The uniforms. The running. The sweat. The wins. The losses. The State Championships and the 3rd round losses. The joy. The tears. The race to the concession stand after we broke our team huddle after a game to the pool party after a long season. Being a part of a team defined much of my growing up. And I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Most of us have experienced being on a team. Some of those experiences were horrific. Some of them were life defining. We know the signs of a good team, and we know the signs of a bad team. Teams are built not just on the field of play, but also in the workplace and in the home. The reality is simple; we’re all building a team in some capacity. The question is crucial; What kind of team are you building?
Here are a few signs of a great team:
A Great Coach: We have most likely heard it said that “everything rises and falls on leadership.” I believe that to be true. I also believe that great leadership doesn’t begin with the actions of the leader, but rather in the heart of the leader. A great leader loves the team he/she leads, which leads to them empowering the team to succeed. A great coach leads with a posture of listening, knowing the needs of the team, and acts accordingly.
Laser Sharp Focus: Whether it’s “planting 1,000 churches in our lifetime” or “the year of redemption,” a laser sharp focus moves the team in the same direction. Jesus gave his disciples a pretty clear focus when he left them “Go and make disciples of all nations,” and they committed their lives to it. Too often we shotgun our approach with good things our teams can be about rather than rifling them with the best. Let’s help give them focus rather than confusion and frustration.
A Culture of We: Great teams are not created because of a single all-star. Great teams are built with great people. When the “we” is valued over the “me,” trust is built and value is added to each individual rather than a select few. Building a culture of “we” takes time. It never happens overnight. Value relationships in the process of seeing results. Value the process more than the outcome. When we do that, we value our people more than our goals. After all, Jesus’ mission was about people…not a program.
A Value of Excellence: There is an important distinction to be made here between “excellence” and “success.” Success almost always plays the comparison game. Excellence, however, is taking what you’ve been given and maximizing it’s greatest potential. What we say here at The Summit Church is that we’ll strive for “resourceful excellence.” That means we’ll take what we’ve been given by God, give thanks for it, and then run as hard as we can for the kingdom of God with what we’ve been entrusted with. Where excellence runs amuck, however is when we value the end product more than the people. Don’t mistake excellence with showmanship. Excellence is a work ethic. It’s a habit. It’s a value. It’s not the scoreboard.