Guest Post: Characteristics of Effective Ministry Teams

What is it that makes a team? A team is a number of people who are committed to work together toward a common vision. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results. Here are some insights into the ‘Characteristics of an Effective Ministry Team’ from people who have been working in team-based ministries:

  1. Clear purpose. The vision, mission, goal, or task of the team has been defined and is now accepted by everyone. There is an action plan.
  2. Informality. The climate tends to be informal, comfortable, and relaxed, with no obvious tensions or signs of boredom.
  3. Participation. There is much discussion and everyone is encouraged to be involved.
  4. Listening. The members use effective listening techniques such as questioning, paraphrasing, and summarizing to get out ideas.
  5. Civilized disagreement. There is disagreement, but the team is comfortable with this and shows no signs of avoiding, smoothing over, or suppressing conflict.
  6. Consensus decisions. For important decisions, the goal is substantial but not necessarily unanimous agreement through open discussion of everyone’s ideas, avoiding formal voting or easy compromises.
  7. Open communication. Team members feel free to express their feelings on the tasks as well as on the group’s operation. There are few hidden agendas. Communication takes place outside of meetings.
  8. Clear roles and work assignments. There are clear expectations about the roles played by each team member. When action is taken, clear assignments are made, accepted, and carried out. Work is fairly distributed among team members.
  9. Shared leadership. While the team has a formal leader, leadership functions shift from time to time depending upon the circumstances, the needs of the group, and the sills of the members. The formal leader models the appropriate behavior and helps establish positive norms.
  10. External relations. The team spends time developing key outside relationships, mobilizing resources, and building credibility with important players in other parts of the ministry.
  11. Style diversity. The team has a broad spectrum of team-player types
  12. Self-assessment. Periodically, the team stops to examine how well it is functioning and what may be interfering with its effectiveness.

The Role of Team Leader
As a team leader it is important to make sure the team’s performance is monitored. This will apply to both the overall effectiveness of the group, and that of the individuals within it.

  1. Keep the purpose, goals, and approach relevant and meaningful. While the leader must be a full working team member, he or she must also have the big picture in view and keep the team on track.
  2. Build commitment and confidence. Provide positive, constructive feedback that will inspire individual as well as group success.
  3. Strengthen the mix and level of skills. Be vigilant to ensure that the team possesses the whole range of skills it needs. Promote training and personal growth. Shift assignments and role patterns to maximize individual development.
  4. Manage relationship with outsiders, including removing obstacles. Maximize the contacts throughout the rest of the ministry. Effectively communicate the team’s purpose, goals, and approach to anyone who might help or hinder it.
  5. Create opportunities for others on the team. Don’t grab all the best opportunities, assignments, and credit. Share the glory.
  6. Do real work. Everyone on a real team, including the leader, does real work in roughly equivalent amounts.

Colin Noyes

Colin is the Director of ResourceZone International, a ministry that publishes a wide range of quality resources. Colin is responsible for the research and development side of this ministry. He has thirty years of experience as a pastor, lecturer and consultant/coach to consultants, coaches and leadership of a wide range of organisations. He is a recognized authority in areas like coaching, leadership development, team building, organizational health and growth. He can be reached at

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