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.