Recently after Sunday morning service, my team and I had an emergency meeting. The reason for the meeting was simple: I was doing too much, and they were doing too little. To be clear, it wasn’t their fault. It would’ve been easy to blame them, but the real problem was me. The reason I was doing the majority of the work myself is because I was not leading my team effectively.
Failure to Lead
You’ve probably heard people say “those who can’t do, teach,” which may or may not be true. However, there’s a similar statement that I now know is undeniably true: “those who can’t lead, do.” That is to say, if you can’t mobilize people to get behind a vision and get things done, you will be stuck doing it all yourself.
Of course, I am not saying that you shouldn’t be doing any of the work. What I am saying, though, is if you are constantly overwhelmed but haven’t built or utilized your team, you are suffering from an inability to lead. This is the boat I found myself in. Because of my perfectionism, poor relational skills, and lack of vision, I was suffocating under the weekly workload.
So, if you find yourself in a similar position, how do you get out of it?
Build Relationships and Cast Vision
Step one: build relationships. When it comes to building teams the truth is that, at first, people are more committed to you than they are to the team. They might think the vision is appealing, but for most, that isn’t enough. They aren’t going to put in the work unless you ask them to.
Get to know some people and truly care about them. After that, ask them to help. More than likely, they will say yes — because you believe in the vision, and they believe in you. This is much easier than it sounds. I am highly introverted, so this is something I have to be very intentional about, but it is doable. And you will be happy you did it.
Your new friends will be happy too. They will be happy because, after they’ve helped for a while and heard you cast the vision of your team repeatedly, they will grow to believe in it. Everyone is happy to work for something they believe in.
Now you have a team, but maintaining a team can be a lot of work. How do you make sure your team is more of a blessing than a burden?
Train Volunteers and Raise up Leaders
The first thing you need to do with your new team is train them. Nothing is more frustrating as a volunteer than not knowing what you are supposed to do, and honestly, that is little help to you as the leader anyway. Give them something to do. This will make them feel like a real part of the team, and you will instantly start to see the fruits of your labor.
But don’t stop there. After they have learned what to do and demonstrated responsibility, motivate them to lead. Raise them up as a leader in the team. Give them a title. Give them ownership over a section of your ministry. Encourage them to raise up more leaders. Multiplication is the key.
Having people take a few tasks off of your hands is nice, but that’s not the goal. Ultimately, you want to grow people and turn them into disciples who make disciples, leaders who make leaders. I still struggle in these areas more than I would like to admit, but this is how teams are built. And more than that, this is how churches are planted.