Here are 6 lessons ministry leaders can learn from Teams That Thrive: Five Disciplines of Collaborative Church Leadership:

1. The best teams make decisions as a group. The best teams both make decisions and “own” the implementation. Many teams operate as a place for the lead pastor or another leader to share ideas and get “buy in” because no one wants to contradict him and then move forward. Or decisions are made that are passed down by some hidden board, and then no one owns it. A team should be a place of robust discussion that covers every possible scenario, and then everyone owns the final product.

2. For good or bad, leadership teams shape the culture, direct the mission, establish the vision and model the values of your church. Put another way: Great leadership teams lead great churches, and mediocre leadership teams lead mediocre churches. This is just a simple truth. The healthier the church, the greater the teams. There is no shortcut to this and no way around it.

Great leadership teams lead great churches, and mediocre leadership teams lead mediocre churches.


3. When we asked team members what made their team great, the responses almost always pointed to their communication practices. Churches are notoriously bad at communication. Silos exist, people do their own thing. The reason is simple: a lot has to get done, and communicating takes time. It can slow things down, or you might be told not to do something.

Communication determines a team’s success more than anything else.


4. Focus on purpose, the invisible leader of your team. This was easily one of the biggest a-ha moments in the book. What is the purpose of the team? Why is this team meeting? If you can’t answer these questions, you are wasting time.

Purpose is the invisible leader of your team.

5. Top teams were smaller but think broader than underperforming teams. The lead team I’m on right now is the smallest team I’ve ever been on. I think back to the other teams I was on, and they had 7 – 10 people on them. Not everyone got heard, stuff was missed and we wasted a lot of time. Smaller simply is better.

Top teams were smaller than underperforming teams.


6. Members of a Top Team adopt a church-wide perspective.

Members of top teams adopted a churchwide perspective rather than a position-based perspective (e.g., youth, business, technology, missions) more than members of bottom teams. In other words if you were the Groups Pastor you would be able to view the issue from your perspective in regards to how it impacts your ministry but also take a collaborative view from the church-wide perspective of what is best for the church as a whole.

Members of top teams adopted a church-wide perspective rather than a position-based perspective.

I can’t recommend this book enough if you are a pastor or lead another area of ministry. This is perhaps the best book on teams in a church setting that I have seen so far!