You Might Need a Team

Last Updated Sunday, June 7, 2015
By Rev. Nathan Stanton

Every challenge can be addressed. Whether large, small or complex, challenges present themselves to families, churches, non-profits and businesses. It is central to living in a complex and ever-changing society. Challenge is out there everywhere but it is also very much a part of each of our lives and the churches that we seek to lead, serve and support as well.

Churches face challenges like everyone else. Most of the time, churches try to face challenges by keeping as much equilibrium as possible. In other words, churches often times try to meet challenges with no internal change in how they do their business of discipling one another and reaching out to their communities. Changing neighborhoods, unstable economic conditions, stagnant volunteerism, declining attendance at traditional hours of worship name just a few common challenges churches in both rural and urban areas face on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis. Solutions to your local challenges aren’t always found elsewhere.

Where churches can look for solutions to these challenges isn’t necessarily outside of them, but rather, right where you already are! Every church has an inordinate amount of experience, wisdom, resource and courage to meet these locally rooted challenges. Yet, because churches may try to continue to keep things the same while trying to adapt to the locally rooted challenges, we may, in fact, use the same process we have always used to address such challenges. What we in the church so often find is that we often get the same thing we’ve always gotten by addressing new challenges in 2014 the same way we addressed them in 1975. What about trying something different for your church? What about addressing a challenge with a different way of working, learning and serving? If you have any of these challenges, or, questions, you might need a team!

You might need a team if…

  • A new challenge has emerged in your church, town or city for which there is no committee in your church. Don’t make another committee! Build a team of people already passionate about the challenge and charge them as a church with the opportunity to learn about it and the authority to act on it! Use folks outside the church as well. It has the capacity to broaden the impact!
  • You have several very strong personalities that often control the conversation in the church (clergy or laity – equal opportunity, here) which inadvertently disables action on locally rooted challenges. Building a team can empower new voices to emerge in team work while allowing those strong and even dominant voices to still be part of the process. Not everyone is good on a team, though.
  • When the challenge of apathy and stagnancy emerges in volunteerism, attendance and service events, a team can bring a sense of energy to the whole through laser-like focus on a locally rooted challenge like neighborhood changes or energizing worship through a worship improvement task force. It isn’t about taking on something too large, it’s about taking on something with focus and a concrete outcome!
  • You’ve had an influx of talented people that you want to work together and get a win on something meaningful. Take the time to get to know them and understand what they are interested in doing to make a difference. Why are they at your church? How can you get them involved in a short-term team to make something happen in the church!

Of course, there are other reasons to have a team. You might share a few, here for colleagues and fellow servants seeking to make a difference.

The Rev. Nathan Stanton is coordinator of New Church Development for the Great Plains Conference. Contact him at

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