3 P's to Serve the Team You're On
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I’ve had the privilege to be part of several different teams in my life. Growing up, I was on the safety patrol in elementary school (can I get an AMEN?!?!). We proudly wore our orange vests and shiny badges as we served our school by making sure cars parked where they were supposed to, and kids weren't running through the drop-off lane. If you had the incredible opportunity to be a safety officer at your school, you know it’s quite the resume builder as a 5th grader. In middle and high school, I played on different sports teams and found different ways to support the team and be there for each other.
Many of us serve in ministries that give us opportunities to serve alongside others. These can certainly be the volunteers we serve alongside, but they also include the other church staff and leaders in our church. I am convinced that we can do more for the Kingdom when we work together as a team. So maybe you’re reading this as a youth pastor; you’ve got a worship pastor, children’s pastor, or other staff on your team and want to learn how to better serve them.
The deacons in our church rally behind something they call the three P’s of being a deacon. These three points are shared every year at our church when we ordain new deacons, and they are given these as a challenge to apply in their new ministry. The three P’s are simple, practical, and applicable to serving on a team in any capacity. So, I thought I would share them with you and challenge you to incorporate them in serving your church or volunteer teams.
It almost should go without saying, but this is so important. It is so easy to get caught up in all of the work that is required in your ministry that you sometimes forget to look around you to see what others on your team are doing. Pray for the team you serve on. Look for specific ways to pray for them
personally but also in their ministry. As you well know, ministry isn’t all unicorns and rainbows. It’s full of hard conversations, volunteer struggles, budgeting issues, sickness, and trying to “balance” your own personal life through it all. As you look to work as a team, praying together can help bring about a special kind of “Holy unity.” If you take time to participate in each other's ministries, you’ll know exactly the things to pray for because you’ll be right in the trenches serving with them. As you look to serve your team by praying for them, it will require you to intentionally know them and interact with them. I’ve been greatly blessed and encouraged by the prayers of other staff and always am thankful when someone pops in my office at random to pray for me. Pray for each other; you all need it.
This is one of my favorite ways to serve on a team. This one can be hard because you are probably already busy enough making sure your own ministry programs and events are happening, but I believe it cannot be overlooked. Participating in another teammate's ministry goes a long way for that person. It’s acknowledging that 1) you see them, 2) you agree that what they are doing is important to the Kingdom and overall health of the church, and 3) you want to support them. One way this works in my context is I look for ways to participate in our Children’s Ministry. I’ll try and teach Bible Study to the upcoming 5th graders from time to time; I’ll volunteer for VBS and for our Marketing Team, I’ll help out with videography or photography when needed. This allows me to meet people outside of my student ministry circle and work with others on our team. There will always be a reason NOT to do it, so maybe over these next couple of months, you can try and find ways to push through that and help out another teammate. If you don’t know where to start, consider asking another staff member how you can help them.
We’ve all had the moment where a church member wants to talk to you in private and complain about something they don’t like about another staff member or something they are doing in their ministry. These can be dangerous waters to live in. Oftentimes, people would rather complain about something they don’t like rather than try and work together with the person at hand or the problem at hand. When it comes to serving on a team, you have to protect each other and have each other’s back. Whenever
criticism comes against another staff member, look for ways to defend them and honor them and then encourage them to go speak directly with the person. Not only does this protect you from being part of the criticism, but it also, in a loving way, reminds them of the proper way to handle something they may not agree with. Churches today have to fight for unity. It won’t just happen on its own, but it takes people like you standing up for others on your team, protecting them, and looking for ways to celebrate them.
It is an honor to serve together on a team. When you’re on a team, you’re better for it. There’s an old acronym that I hold close to my heart.
Let’s seek to create a culture of praying, participating, and protecting on our teams!
Share your thoughts with others in our YM360 community:
- What are some ways you serve your team or ways your team serves you?
- What systems and/or processes do you have in place to protect, defend, and honor your team?
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