There are lots of I’s in TEAM

“There is no i in team” is a well known phrase, commonly, but not exclusively, used by the person in charge who wants to impose his views on others.

There is one way to organise a team: Everybody gets to do every job, and there is a rota. Everyone gets a share of the good and the bad jobs. It’s fair, that can be said of it.

Or you can take another approach: Fit the people into the role best suited to them. I call this the football team method. Would Liverpool FC be at the top of the Premiership if they made all their players rotate their positions.

But while the second method may work for sport teams who are able to pick their players and in commerce and industry, where people can be recruited to fit certain roles. In other places it does not work. If everyone fills the role they like who will clean the toilets? (And please do not try to convince me that there are people who enjoy cleaning toilets, especially if someone else had made them dirty.)

When the problem turns to churches things get tricky. In a mega-sized church there may be a wide range of talents and all needed roles can be filled. But in my experience of churches there are not such a wide range of skills. Some jobs there are plenty of people to do them and others it is hard to find people who want to do a task, or are even capable.

What is needed is a compromise.  Or a different approach. We need to be able to use those who are less able as well as the capable, and we need to make sure that the less pleasant jobs are done. I am not comfortable when church follows the same practices as business or sports management. When we talk about every member ministry we must mean it.

To get things done there is an element of utilising people in the roles best suited to them, and an element of people working outside their comfort zone in order to get things done. But when we talk about every member ministry we have to mean it. We have to include all, we have to learn to apreciate people for who they are and not what they can do, and if things are less efficient we have to accept that.


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