In order to have an efficient and effective team, there must be certain underlying convictions to which every member adheres. We usually associate convictions with Bible doctrines and matters of personal holiness. However, I believe that every staff member within a local church should have certain convictions in the way he behaves professionally.
A wise man once told me that all a man has is his word. Yet we live in a day when the word of man means very little. Deception has become a part of life and business. There is a lack of integrity and honesty, whether in the home or in the business world. Unfortunately, the same can be true in a Christian ministry environment. When you are dishonest, your word is no longer trustworthy.
There are really only two reasons why we lie: to keep ourselves out of trouble or to gain favor with others. We often lie or embellish the truth about a given situation in order to improve the outcome. God desires that we would “provide things honest in the sight of all men” (Romans 12:17). How should we be honest?
1. Be forthright about the progress of a project or assignment. The worst thing you can do to your supervisor or leader is surprise them when a project is not as “complete” as you made it sound.
2. Be realistic about deadlines. If you say you’ll have it done by Tuesday next week, have it done by Tuesday next week. If you are going to miss a stated deadline, communicate with the supervisor. Don’t wait for the leader to come looking for you once the deadline has passed.
3. Let your “yes” mean “yes” and your “no” mean “no.” Don’t be known as that staff member who never means what he says. Remember, all you have is your word.
Honesty is the foundation needed in order to maintain integrity and the trust of your team.
If honesty is the foundation of an effective team, then humility is what holds the team together. Human pride is an unfortunate reality in every human being. I have to be honest with myself and realize that pride is as present in me as it is in my coworkers. I am always safest to assume that I am the one being proud rather than to think that someone else is the one being proud.
One’s humility is most evident when being corrected for a mistake. The truly humble staff member admits to his own mistakes, takes responsibility to fix it, and takes measures to correct the issue in the future. A proud staff member has to be corrected for the mistake, rather than simply admitting to it. He often excuses his mistakes with the mistakes of others, his own “unfortunate circumstances,” or the unrealistic expectations of his boss.
Responsibility goes hand in hand with honesty and humility. We are mistaken if we think responsibility is reserved for those in leadership positions. Every staff member is responsible for something. What we fail to realize is that our lack of responsibility does not only affect us. The only person who will give an account to Christ for the church is the pastor. Therefore, every staff member has been given a degree of the pastor’s responsibility to steward. He will not be excused before Christ because it was our mistake.
The word that I think best describes the responsible mindset is representation. My work first represents my character. In a staff position, my work represents my leader, then my pastor. Ultimately, my work represents Christ. So I must ask myself, “Is my work a good representation of my Lord?” That is why the Bible teaches to do everything with all our might (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
Responsibility is what eliminates the eight to five mindset. Responsibility forgets about personal convenience. Responsibility goes the extra mile to meet a deadline. Responsibility settles for nothing less than excellence when preparing itineraries, cue cards, schedules, etc.
Someone might say, “That is too demanding. You shouldn’t put such an expectation on your employees.” Don’t forget that such a requirement was set by the perfect example of our Saviour. Think of the personal “inconvenience” Christ took on Himself to complete our redemption. Think of how He takes personal responsibility for the care of His children. Is it so unrealistic to require of ourselves the same level of responsibility when we are in the Lord’s work?
Honesty, humility, and responsibility—these three convictions lay the foundation to what it is to be an effective team player in the context of the ministry.