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Why It’s Time for Teamwork

Here’s why I think being a team player is important:

1. The youth ministry is not the church—it may be the best part of the church, but it’s still just a part.

2. If you were leading the whole church, you’d want the different parts to all “play nice” together.

3. Greater alignment usually means greater impact. Being a team player increases your alignment with the bigger picture.

4. Lead by example. You know how friendship works: If you want a friend, be a friend first. There will be days when you need help from the rest of the church. Be the first one to serve so they are more eager to serve you. Obviously, this can be twisted into a game of politics, but you don’t have to go that far with it.

5. The rest of the church has something to learn from you and your ministry. Increased crossover means more opportunity for them to learn from you. Of course the opposite is also true:

6. You have something to learn from the rest of the church. If you aren’t a team player, you’ll miss out on some valuable lessons.

A few ways you can be a team player at your church:

1. Get a wider perspective.

Work hard to see the needs of your whole church, not just your own ministry. Have conversations with people who aren’t in your regular circles. Ask to sit in a few meetings you normally don’t attend. Yeah, I know, meetings are death, but taking an interest and learning more about the whole church will help you get a wider perspective.

2. Jump in and contribute on “all church” events and programs.

If there’s a special way you can help or own something, make that happen. And if you can get students to serve, that’s double bonus.

3. Suggest ideas that help everyone, not just your own ministry.

This may mean giving up resources, or switching the dates for an event. If you keep your eyes open, you’ll get ideas on how you and your ministry can help the whole church.

4. Finally, don’t lose sight of your own ministry’s goals and growth.

It’s great to be a team player, but don’t take your eye off the ball, which is your ministry. Team players make sacrifices, but don’t martyr your ministry. You are still called to serve in the most effective way possible, don’t let your ministry get lost in the big picture.

Question: What are some other ways you’ve been a team player in your church?  

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I spend my time serving as the high school pastor for Mariners Church in Irvine, CA. Before that, I spent about a year resourcing Youth Workers as a writer and editor for Simply Youth Ministry.