Several years ago, the staff at my church went through a rough patch. Personalities clashed and conflict seemed to multiply daily across multiple members of the team. If you had asked, we would have all individually endorsed the intrinsic value of unity. If quizzed, we could have given chapter and verse about the many biblical passages that talk about the soothing comfort and refreshing joy of unity be it in a marriage, a family, a sports team, a congregation, and yes, a ministry team.
Passages like this one come to mind:
Psalm 133 NIV
1 How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!
2 It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
down on the collar of his robe.
3 It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore.
The only problem in this season for our team was our execution.
Our desire to be a “Dream Team” had become a nagging nightmare. It seemed we were willing to “execute” each other for various reasons, but we couldn’t figure out how to execute healthy unity among us.
During this season of tension, I brought in our church elders to pray for us and to give us counsel. Later, they came into the situation further with mediation among some of the members. We were attempting to right our ship using Jesus’ Matthew 18 truths and practices.
Paul was one of those wise, grace-filled elders. As we talked through the situation, he made an observation that has stayed with me: “When disunity comes in a team, the first thing that leaves the room is creativity and no one even knows it left.”
The truth of that statement is abundantly obvious on the face of it. This statement can serve as a measure to gauge the unity of your team.
- Is there any creativity swirling around?
- Does the team enjoy ideation at special planning times or is it a drudgery?
- Are vision development experiences seen as a fun, free-flowing adventure or are they unwelcome interruptions to “good ministry time”?
One of my pastoral regrets is that I undervalued the importance of staff and leader unity for too long. I learned the hard way the power of organizational health marked by the relentless pursuit of holy unity that breeds ongoing creativity. When unity exists, God blesses with new ideas from just about everyone on the team. Beyond that, everyone looks forward to coming to work as a privilege rather than an obligation.
May God lead and equip you and your team to grow into greater accord with each other. The unity of the leaders will overflow to the rest of the church family. It will also become an evangelistic contagion. People want to be around a team and a congregation that enjoys being with each other.