You win or lose as a team

You perform as individuals, but you win or lose as a team.

– Brad Alford, CEO of Nestle

The quote comes from a video that you have to be a student or faculty member of Indiana University to watch, but the point got me thinking about the way we deploy clergy and the way we work together. As clergy, is it not true that we often function and work as individuals? We may gather from time to time at district or conference-level meetings, but we remain more or less lone operators.

One place where clergy pay attention to teams is within the congregation they serve. They spend energy — when they have the resources — to build and develop teams within the congregation. Often, these teams are dependent on the clergy leader who assembles them. Often, they are built with the notion that other congregations in the denomination and the denominational structure itself are enemies — or at least not allies.

Could this be part of the reason why we as a denomination have some congregations that perform well, that “win” to use Alford’s terms, but as a whole we are losing? We perform as individual congregations and pastors, but we lose as a team because at the county, district, and conference level we do not have any sense of being on the same team or working toward a shared purpose.

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4 thoughts on “You win or lose as a team

  1. WIn or lose as a team? …..True.

    Leadership is the key driver to the success of any company, organization or project.
    The leader sets the goal and or goals of the org and sets the tone.
    The leader directs, inspires and oversees or directs oversight to insure everything incorporated is directed to meet the goals of the org.
    Teamwork towards the goal makes or breaks the org.

    UMC has a divided leadership.
    The Leadership within the UMC can not agree on the basic goal of the church or what path will lead to the desired goal. The leadership break their own law, reject promises made (oaths), and some resist any attempt to ensure compliance.
    That is a recipe for disaster and failure.

    “No one can serve two masters, because either he will hate one and love the other, or be loyal to one and despise the other.”

    And sometimes those “masters” are self and personal agenda.

  2. Jesus said:
    “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.
    (That includes the Christian Church)

    For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”
    (The goal is to do the “will of the Father”.)

    Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.

    For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

    (The Christian Church has also been given directives on “what to speak and what to do.
    Those things are found in the Bible. The book of authority that, among other things, explain the covenant relationship of man with God that forms what we refer to today as a type of Agency relationship)

    The above is why the new “led by individual conscience” of each and every individual as adopted by the ELCA and others is recipe for disaster. It destroys headship, unity, sameness of mind and goals.

    “so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” ( accord or agree)

    Matthew 12
    John 4 & John 12
    Romans 16

  3. I dream of a day again when pastors of different giftings can be appointed to a county or area and see themselves as responsible together for that area. One may be good at administration and organizing, another at spiritual discernment and counseling, another at exegesis of the text for a particular place and time. I dream of working with local pastors, lay speakers, lay liturgists and lay leaders cooperatively to see what the United Methodist Church looks like and can be for an area working together.

    Have you heard of places where our church looks like that?

    I feel like it would be a lot more like what the order of traveling preachers used to be and more in line with what we say we believe about the Church and Christian Unity.

  4. Yes! Yes! Yes! The reality is that churches and clergy DO compete with each other. I also believe that John Leek’s dream would be one way to revitalize our denomination; but I also know that our inequitable salary system is a serious roadblock to that vision. Money=power in our current system and that will continue to thwart our reform efforts.

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