by Jonathan Cliff

It’s impossible to tell people what I do without the words team and teamwork being heard. I work in a church so I work with people that go to that church. I work in those environments for kids and students, so I work with kids and students. That much is obvious.  But what I really do is lead the teams that lead those areas specifically. To further complicate it, I lead a team of leaders that lead their own teams. Take me to coffee sometime, and I’ll tell you about this team of all-stars I have the privilege of leading now.

But, what is a team? A team is a collection of people gathered together to accomplish one singular purpose. Easy enough to understand, right? If I’m creating a hockey team, I need a collection of hockey players. My team won’t work if I put three hockey players with 20 people that can’t ice skate. Get that? A team is a collection/group/cohort that works together to accomplish/do/achieve one singular purpose.

Let’s go to the Bible on this. Teamwork matters.

  • Ecclesiastes 4:9-12: Two are better off than one, because together they can work more effectively. If one of them falls down, the other can help him up. But if someone is alone and falls, it’s just too bad, because there is no one to help him. If it’s cold, two can sleep together and stay warm but how can you keep warm by yourself. Two men can resist an attack that would defeat one man alone. A rope of three cords is hard to break. (TEV) We are better together than we are on our own.
  • Nehemiah 4: When the Israelites were rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem, the work got tough and they got discouraged. Finally, they just gave up. So, Nehemiah reorganized the work into teams. Half would stand guard with their spears and swords and protect everyone. The other half would work. Then they’d alternate their positions. He posted everyone by groups and families, so they could encourage and support each other.
  • Mark 6:7:  When Jesus sent people out in ministry; he sent them out in twos. He did not expect them to minister alone.
  • Acts 24: Paul specifically mentions seven people who were part of his ministry team. He brought others along, not only to train them, but also to keep him encouraged.

What is essential for a team to be effective?

Jonathan Cliff is the director of family ministries at Athens Church, a North Point Strategic Partner, in Athens, Georgia. At Athens Church, Jonathan leads a great team of leaders reaching preschoolers, children and students. He is a huge advocate for families and believes that the family can be God’s primary way of reaching the world that they live in. Jonathan and his wife, Starr, have a full house with two sons, Ryan and Dylan, and one daughter, Lauryn. They have also served as foster parents for many kids over the years.

This post originally appeared here November 12, 2012. Used with permission of the author.