The Basic Essentials of Christian Leadership
Module 5 : Team Building
Getting Started          

I became a Christian when working in Zambia in 1973 to 1977.  I did not return until invited to speak at a leadership training convention in February 2012. 
Something extraordinary happened during that trip - Zambia won the Africa Football Cup! 
It was extraordinary as Zambia had no footballers well known outside Africa - like no Toure (Ivory Coast), Essien (Ghana)  or Drogba (Ivory Coast). 
How could a team with no outstanding players win? 

               It was by working as a team.

It is the same in most national football leagues. A team is struggling and is towards the bottom of the table.
The manager is fired and a new manager is appointed.
The new manager has exactly the same team but they start winning.  How can this be? 

It is because the new manager knows how to motivate his players. Same players – different results!


Why Building a Team is Important      

1. Teams are the Biblical model

Jesus was a Team Builder. 
He could have done everything himself but chose to work through other people working in teams.

  • Jesus appoints a team in Luke 6:13.
  • He gives them a small task in Luke 9:13
  • He gives them a huge task in Matthew 28:19
  • He sends out a larger team in Luke 10:1


2. Teams facilitate church growth.

This happens by developing and using people’s gifts and abilities.

  • Acts 6:1
  • Ephesians 4:12
  • 1 Corinthians 12:12-17

3. Teams encourage us

  • Hebrews 10:24-25

4. Teams helps us grow as leaders

  • Proverbs 27: 17


5. Teams helps to avoid burn out

  • Exodus 18
  • Acts 6

6. Teams reduce dependency on one person

  • Ecclesiastes 4:9-12


Why might a leader feel he must do things himself?

What are the dangers for the leader if he insists on this approach?


Building a New Team      

Sometimes you have the opportunity to build up a new team.
This is likely if you are planting a new church.
This gives you the possibility to build a ‘Dream Team’

When you are building a Dream Team, this is what we suggest you look for in team members in order of priority:

Priority one:  Godly Character

You will want to see evidence of honesty, teachability, humility, reliability, integrity, perseverance and most importantly that they are abiding in Christ. (See Module 2) 



Priority two: Competence

You are looking for gifts and abilities that are a good match for the role they will have in your team. For example, if teacher they need teaching gifts, if evangelist the gift of evangelism, if administrator they need administration skills, if pastoral care they should be compassionate people

REMEMBER:  Jesus saw undiscovered skills and abilities when he chose a bunch of unqualified fishermen and a dodgy tax collector.  A sculptor gets excited by an ugly lump of wood seeing what can be carved out of it.



Priority three: Different but Harmonious (Chemistry)

You are seeking a mix of personality types who you believe will enjoy working together though being different to one another.

Ideally, you will have on your team people who are risk takers and those who are cautious, visionaries and managers.

You will have extroverts (outgoing) and introverts (reflective).
See module 7 for more on this. 

Such a team will have a balanced wisdom
Such a team will work well together provided they have respect for other team members and recognise the strengths that the other people bring to the team.



Important advice

Wait until you find the right person before you fill a position.

It is difficult to remove wrong people after you have made an appointment.



Personal testimony

For some years, I headed up a large Christian ministry.

By nature I am a strategic planner.
So I appointed a visionary as my number 2.

We were very different but enjoyed working together.


Inheriting a Team      

The advantage an existing team has is that they already know each other and the church/organisation. They already exist as a unit.  This can be a big positive as you start in your new position. However, the disadvantage is that you may have inherited a team with some deficiencies.

You will have to work with the team you have inherited whatever their deficiencies. That is a test of your leadership skills. But remember this

‘Just as some people bring out the best in you and other people the worst in you, you can bring the best out of other people  whatever their deficiencies’



To do this, you will to use the ‘motivation tool box’ which is listed later in this module combined with prayer

In time team members will leave your team for a number of reasons and you can use the three ‘C’s to replace them – character, competence, chemistry



There may be one or two people on the team you inherit whose negative behaviour is so great that it affects the rest of the group in an unacceptable way.  Examples would be excesses in one or more of following:

Self-importance, critical spirit, taking all the credit, spreading false rumours, bullying, harassment, failure to forgive, inability to admit wrong doings

Such people are called ‘bad apples’ and as with a bad apple in a bag of apples, they start to poison other apples (people) with their badness.



Some bad apples will simply move when they realise they do not approve of your vision and leadership.  But some bad apples cling on.

You must address the issues directly with ‘bad apples’ as one bad apple affects all apples. If they change, then you have done a wonderful thing for them and the ministry. If they do not change, then you must take further action and ultimately you may have to remove them. Module 7 on managing conflict will guide you how to do this




Think of at least 5 Godly characteristics that a leader may need when inheriting an imperfect team.

Which is the most important, and why?



We have seen above why teams are important. 
But there is no point in having teams if you do not delegate tasks to team members.

Delegation means entrusting authority and responsibility in an orderly way to a deputy for a complete task. 



Delegation is NOT

  • 'Do exactly what I say'
  • 'Look into this and report back. I’ll decide'
  • 'Look into this and report back. We’ll decide together'


Many leaders are reluctant to delegate effectively because

  • They feel only they can do the job properly
  • They do not want to ask too much of others
  • They fear giving away too much power and losing control
  • The feel it is often quicker to do the job themsleves rather than explain it to others


However, there are many advantages to effective delegation:

  • Team leader can focus on the ‘big picture’
  • Team leader can focus on areas which match their gifts and abilities
  • Team members develop ownership of vision
  • Team members achieve their potential
  • Team spirit is enhanced
  • More work is accomplished
  • Succession planning is easier should the team leader leave


Here are some guidelines on how to delegate effectively

1. Decide what to delegate
You need to decide what areas of responsibility you wish to delegate. Do not just delegate all the difficult jobs and keep the easy enjoyable jobs for yourself. That is not delegating. That is dumping work on others.

2. Elect who to delegate to.
You need to decide who you will delegate areas of responsibility to. 
Who has the gift/talent/time for this job.



3. List what is involved in this area of responsibility                               

The tasks and the time commitment

4. Explain the reasons for the task to the person you are delegating to, what the task is and what results you hope for by when.

Delegated tasks must be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Agreed
  • Realistic
  • Time bound

Your will recognise this SMART list from Module 4



5. Give adequate training and resources to enable the person to do the tasks

6. Allow freedom to work.
This is important. Many leaders delegate tasks and then constantly interfere and take back some of the areas of delegated responsibility. Of course you will want to support and sometimes offer encouraging advice but that is different to constantly interfering.  Realize that people learn through failing and provided that failure does not destroy the ministry, you have to take this risk.

7. Tell others about the delegation.
Other people need to know you have delegated this area of authority.  Make a public announcement about this.  You may wish to pray for them in a public meeting



8. Evaluate the performance

Evaluation is different from interfering.

You need to meet with the person on a regular basis to evaluate how things are going – initially frequently (maybe once a month) and later less frequently (maybe twice a year).

Ask questions such as:

  • 'How are you feeling about the job?'
  • 'What is going right? How can you build on that?'
  • 'What went wrong?  How can you change that?'
  • 'Is the support you are being given for the task appropriate?'
  • 'What are your plans for the next step?'


Question and action:

Think of one task you are doing now that you could delegate.

Who could you give this to?

Determine that you will begin the process of delegating the task tomorrow.


How to Motivate Your Team Members      

People can be motivated by many things - guilt, greed, materialism, revenge, pride, envy, or jealousy.
Using such things usually results in manipulating people - not motivating them. 
Godly motivation is fired by love

Godly leaders have a Motivational Tool-box - which you can use to assist people fulfil the potential that God has put in their lives.



1. Cultivate your attitude to others


Remember the golden rule
[Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31]

Here is a short course on human relations...

  • the 6 most important words - 'I admit this was my mistake'
  • the 5 most important words - 'You did a good job'
  • the 4 most important words - 'What is your opinion?'
  • the 3 most important words - 'Please can you...'
  • the 2 most important words - 'Thank you'
  • the 1 most important word  - 'We...'


Avoid the following:

  • Using gross generalizations -‘you always...’
  • Attacking the person - rather than tackling the problems
  • Making vague accusations
  • Sarcasm  (mockery)

Correction may achieve something; but encouragement achieves so much more. 



Have you suffered at any time from the negative attitude of a leader towards you?

Take time to hand over your feelings about this, and any impact it may have had, to God.
Try to forgive that leader in your heart.

Determine that your leadership will be positive and encouraging.


  2. Give Team Members your time 5.29    

Jesus did not hide in an office - but gave his 'team members' his time:

  • Dinner at Levi’s house    [Mark 2:15]
  • Wedding at Cana            [John 2:2]
  • Going into countryside    [John 3:22]
  • Mountain climbing          [Luke 9:28]
  • Walking the cornfields    [Mark 2:23]

  3. Learn to Listen 5.30    
  • As you listen, maintain eye contact and an attentive posture
  • Wait a few seconds before replying to what the person has just said to make sure they have finished. 
    Think of this acronym:

                                 WAIT = 'Why Am I Talking?'
  • Ask relevant questions to show you have been listening

  4. Keep Your Passion
[Romans 12:11]

Passion is infectious. 
People are motivated by the leader’s passion. 
If the leader is not excited, why should anyone else be! 
I am told that people support our ministry because I am passionate about it

Vision statements on their own will achieve little - you have to fan the vision flame. 

Vision plus Passion motivates people. 



5. Remain positive however a day is going
[Proverbs 15:30)]


Try never to reflect hopelessness...

                      .... if you are down, everyone is down.


  6. Build Trust 5.33    
  • Keep promises
  • Be honest
  • Be loyal
  • Be consistent
  • Do not show favouritism
  • Do not break confidences
  • Communicate well and regularly
  • Let others know that you recognise that failure is better than not trying

  7. Celebrate Successes 5.34    

Acknowledge achievements not just to the person but to the  whole church. 
A publicly-spoken 'Thank you!' or 'Well done!' is a wonderful motivation to do more and better

In summary

       T - Together

       E - Everyone

       A - Achieves

       M - More


Jesus as a Team Leader      
  • He saw potential in people  [John 1:35-50]
  • He loved them   [John  15:9]
  • He taught them (Parables, how to pray in Lord’s Prayer etc)
  • He gave them tasks and commissioned them  (from... getting a donkey... to the Great Commission)
  • He spent time with them becoming friends (see references in section above)

  • He modelled things to them  (from healing the sick to having lunch with tax collectors
  • He prayed for them [John 17.9]
  • He encouraged them (such as describing Peter as 'the rock' Matt 16:18)
    ‘In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world’ [John 16:33]
  • He rebuked them when required
    ‘You of little faith’ [Matt 8:26



Which of the above can you see in your own leadership?

Which ones are missing?

Take time to consider how you might cultivate them.


Some Quotes      

‘I use not only all the brains I have but also all I can borrow’
       Woodrow Wilson (President of USA 1913-1921)

‘ I praise loudly. I blame softly’ 
       Catherine the Great (Empress of Russia 1762 – 1796)

 ‘Talent wins games but teamwork and intelligence wins championships’
       Michael Jordan (US professional basketball player)

 ‘Whatever was accomplished in this country... was accomplished collectively’ 
       Golda Meir (Prime Minister of Israel 1969 – 1974)

 ‘If you look for the worst in people and expect to find it, you surely will.’
       Abraham Lincoln


Biblical Models and References                

Top ten verses listed in the order they appear in the Bible:

  • Genesis 2:18
  • Exodus 18:13-27
  • Proverbs 27:17
  • Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
  • Romans 15:5-6
  • I Corinthians 1:10
  • 1 Corinthians 12:17-20
  • Ephesians 4:11-16
  • Hebrews 10:24-25
  • 1 Peter 4:8-10


Reflection and Questions

  • Have you known any excellent team leaders?  What traits did you see in their lives that made team such a  leader?
  • How does Nehemiah deal with discouragement in Nehemiah 4
  • Moses listened to Jethro – see Exodus 18:13-27.  Is there anyone you should be listening to at the moment?
  • What is the difference between motivation and manipulation?
  • If you are married, do you consider your spouse a team member?  It has been said that a spouse either doubles or halves a leaders effectiveness in a church situation. 
    Do you think this statement is true? 


You can now move onto Module 6:

                Time Management