Monday, June 22, 2009


Each of us has had some sort of experience with a team. Maybe we were on a sports team, or drama team, or choir, or chess team, or something else. Some of our experience was probably good, and someone was probably bad. In my own life, I've been a part of some great teams both at work and at play. I've also been a part of some not so great teams in both categories as well.

Teams usually have a leader or captian. The responsiblities of this person or group of people differ depending on what the context in which they serve is. Captians of hockey teams usually represent the players when talking to the officials about a poor call or a question about something. Leaders in a choir are usually responsible for their choral section (tenor, bass, alto and soprano) in some manner. Being in charge of, or leading a group at work could mean assigning tasks, making sure people are completing their job, and perhaps even evaluating personal perfomances of those under your care.

Regardless of your context for understanding what a team is all about, I think that there are some basic principles that transcend all experiences. The values of a successful team regardless of the context, are each other and then task. Teams are organized for a reason and purpose. In order to reach its' goal, a team must be focused. An accurate focus or vision comes from valuing each other as team mates first, and then valuing the task your team has to accomplish. It's too easy to slip into getting stuff done and letting this part of team overshadow valuing one another. As a team member, I have a choice to make. When someone on my team has a question, or needs someone to talk to, I can make time for them, or I can make time for the tasks that I have to accomplish as a member of this team. Too often we make sure we get stuff done and we neglect caring for one another.

In actuality, stuff gets done more efficiently and more effectively when team mates take time to value each other first. Think about this in terms of your family. If each of you makes sure you take the time to tell and to show the other members of your family that you care about them, your family experience and environment will be more productive and more healthy than if you were simply focused on getting stuff done. Let me share this story with you as an example. Bonny loves to bake. Each time she bakes, she invites our daughter Saydie to be a part of this experience. Sure it takes a lot longer and the mess is greater with Saydie's input, but what Bonny is doing is valuing time with Saydie rather than the task itself. And guess what?? The baking still happens!! Imagine that!!

Sometimes we can begin to believe the lie that if we take time for our team mates we won't get everything accomplished that we need to get done. This is simply not true! I cannot tell you how many times I have felt swamped in my job, but still felt compelled to care for members of my team. After taking time for others, I often have greater clarity and become more efficiently in getting my own stuff done. Plus, I'm growing in my connection to my team.

The connections we have as a team are only as strong as how much we value each other, not only in words, but in actions. Words without actions are empty...they are a waste of breath.

I think that if more people experienced functioning in a healthy team, a lot of the hurt, suffering and burdens in our world brought on by the injustice we inflict upon each other would deminish. Imagine that...changing the world by being a part of a healthy functioning team. Let's get started!!

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A Little Something from Psalm 8

 Had a lot of fun with this one.