Team Leadership (Acts 13)
Team leadership. Organizations talk about it. People want it. But few actually experience it.
Team leadership was a core value of the early church. Read Acts 13:1-4. The church of Antioch was led by five people, from different backgrounds and perspectives, brought together by God to lead as a team. Their leadership was rooted in their relationships with Christ and their commitment to each other. In the end, God used their candid and grace-filled conversations to prompt them to step out in faith.
But team leadership is hard. It takes more of everything to do well: more time, more communication, more courage, more grace. It’s not for the faint of heart.
Here are four questions we ask in my church to see whether we are experiencing true, Spirit-led team leadership.
1. Do your team members know they are on a team? Ask them. If they don’t know they are on a team, you don’t have team leadership.
2. Does your team actually meet together? Everyone is busy. But if your team doesn’t actually meet, you don’t have a team.
3. Is the leader simply informing the team of decisions? Team leadership isn’t informing people of decisions. It’s involving them in the decision.
4. Is the leader simply managing (or manipulating) the team to their own decision? If a leader’s mind cannot be changed, they don’t need a team. If a leader’s mind can be changed, then you have team leadership.
Here is how we define “team leadership” at Grace (which is modeled throughout Scripture, including by the Trinity):
“Team Leadership has multiple leaders at the table, guided by a point leader, with a team who is committed to courageous discussions, resulting in collaborative decisions, which each is fully-committed to accomplish.”
Let’s break this down:
1. Multiple Leaders – You can’t have team leadership without multiple leaders. You can only have a team with followers.
2. A Point Leader – Team leadership is not “We Leadership.” There must be a point leader to help guide the team to true team leadership.
3. Courageous Discussions – Teams cannot make the best decisions without having the best information on the table. To do this, everyone must be wholly committed to creating a safe environment where people say what they really think. Great team meetings have healthy disagreement and debate on the way toward Spirit-led unity.
4. Collaborative Decisions – True Spirit-led team leadership ensures everyone is involved in the decision-making process.
5. Fully-Committed to Accomplish – When the team leaves, they leave as one, speak as one, and are fully committed to accomplishing their decision as one.
God Himself models team leadership. In the Trinity, multiple leaders are at the table: Father, Son, & Spirit. God the Father is the point leader for the Trinity. Because they are one, God experiences the ultimate in courageous discussions (knowing what everyone is actually thinking). The Trinity is committed to collaborative decisions and executing their will as one.
Team leadership is hard. But it is so incredibly worth it.
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