How Team Works

I love March Madness college basketball.

In just five days, 64 teams invited to the NCAA Division 1 men’s tournament were cut to a sweet 16, one of which is my alma mater, North Carolina.

Nothing illustrates how teams work and win better than basketball.  My heart races watching the speed, skill and syncopation. How great would it be to transfer what I see on the court into my personal and work life.

“Teamwork makes the dream work”

So says my pastor from the pulpit.  As a former NFL football player, Pastor Derwin understands the need for purpose and commitment, vision and values, coaches and teammates working better together using a playbook.  And nothing explains teamwork any better than these verses in the Bible:

But speaking the truth in love, 

we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, 

even Christ, from whom the whole body,

being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies,

according to the proper working of each individual part,

causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

Ephesians 4:15-16, NASB

Every team needs its own mix of different members based on the six factors of what each person does best.  Here’s a quick list from Chapter 5 of Created for Good Works

  1. Experiences: Your background – personal, educational, vocational
  2. Abilities: What you do best – talents, knowledge, skills
  3. Personality: How you do best what you do best – natural behaviors
  4. Interests: What you like best – people, places, things, activities
  5. Values: What is important—your work and life purpose and principles
  6. Factor X:  Holy Spirit, who manifests spiritual gifts and calling.

Just as each person is a unique mix of these factors, each team is a mix of servant leaders who come together for the work of ministry.  Usually there is common unity among members as it relates to interests and values.  Diversity is usually important as it relates to different experiences, abilities, and personality traits needed.

Two teamwork qualities are required: Chemistry and Collaboration.


A team with chemistry is built on positive relationships.  Members smile a lot and like each other.  They know about and care for one another.  Oh yeah, and they win a lot, too.

Chemistry happens when a unique relational mix of diverse backgrounds, personalities, work styles, values, and interests come together for a common purpose. It has an elusive quality that isn’t always easy to define, but you can tell when it is missing.

Let me describe what I mean from the ministry side of my life.

The career team at my church started with two members who knew and liked each other, were very different from one another, and were committed to the same vision.   Three years later there are 18 members including the original two who share leadership of the team, nine who are core teammates, five who come occasionally when asked and available, plus two church staff members who support the rest of the career team along with another 10 ministries.

Becoming part of the team includes completing a ministry interest survey, interviewing with at least two of the core team, background investigation and a confidentiality agreement.  New members start by serving alongside core teammates, usually in hospitality and admin roles, not only to learn ministry functions, but especially to build relationships.  Training and equipping includes two half-day workshops teaching the 7-step career ministry process using our workbook and online career ministry resources.   We stay in continuous communication with one another by phone, email, the church intranet system, team projects, and social times together – typically with food.

All of us pay attention to one another to discover what each teammate does best and who needs it most.  Not only do we seek good chemistry through relationships, but also collaboration.


Co-laboring is the functional side of teamwork. It involves planning and organizing supported by processes and systems.  On our ministry team there are two co-leaders who take turns being the point person.  They support three core teammates, each one responsible for a different ministry environment – quarterly workshops, weekly support groups, and ongoing individual coaching.

Each person has their unique role to fill, and by working together, everyone achieves greater goals than working alone. It’s not just many hands make work light, but rather the right hands in the right places make work good.

Created for Good Works

Learn more about the why, what and how of the Church helping people find jobs, careers and God’s calling. Get five copies of the Created for Good Works, and give four to your pastor and ministry leader friends.  Read, pray and team up about how you can be better together in career ministry.


Photo Credit J.D. Lyon Jr on  

Comments 8

  1. Great article, Brian! By the way, my team is the Syracuse Orange and a lot of the “experts” said they shouldn’t have been in the tournament but they have also made the Sweet 16!

  2. Excellent article, Brian – and thank you for quoting scripture! God’s Word is so precious – especially in today’s society – and it alone changes lives thru THE Word, Jesus! Not church programs, superb planning, great volunteers, or sheer force of will. Appreciated your comments about Chemistry & Collaboration, esp. the point about “…not just many hands…, but rather the right hands in the right places…” Would like to talk more offline sometime about this. I believe you have my contact info. “Father, continue to bless CCN and the work of Brian’s hands for your Kingdom. In Jesus Name, Amen!”

  3. Excellent article and great, illustrative application of the six factors to our career team. And, love the collaboration part. Collaboration has become an often used word and a mission for me at my corporate job.

    God Bless

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