Team building, opportunity or threat?

This may seem like a strange title, but it is interesting how sometimes team building can be seen as a threat rather than the opportunity it really is.

So what is team building? in its essence, it is about a number of people coming together under the vision that someone has shared to do something together. In terms of working with young people, it is coming together as a number of people under the vision cast by someone to see a difference made in young people’s lives. so why on earth could this be a threat?

Well the opportunity is maybe more obvious, but does involve a sacrifice, as the threat is also obvious. The key threat within team building, is that the result may not actually work out in the way that you want it too as a team member! If someone in a town shares a vision, and draws other people to join the team from other Church groupings, to engage with a group of young people on an estate, in an area, in a park, or wherever, it is always possible that the young people engaged with may not engage with the particular Church that a member of the team is part of. This then brings the threat, for could it be that our church comes before enabling young people to encounter Jesus?

This of course is the opportunity, that as a team, something si done that is currently not been done. Young people are being engaged with, that have not been engaged with up until that point. A difference is being made in a community, on an estate, in a park, transformation is taking place. All obvious opportunities! the question is which is the more dominant thought in Church life?

We often pray for God’s kingdom to come, to make a difference in the lives of people around us, and surely this needs to be more of the focus, god’s kingdom breaking in, making the difference, as opposed to us seeing the threat of things not necessarily happening for our particular Church gathering.

If we are happy to keep praying “your kingdom come” then we will take the opportunities that God opens for us, but if maybe we feel the threat too much then maybe “your kingdom come” is to big a prayer when it comes to team building across an area.

Elements of Empathy

I wonder when we talk about empathy, or empathising with others, how many of us truly do that, or even understand how that fully works. These are just a few thoughts to stir some thinking, from my experiences:
Understanding: Do leaders really understand who they are leading and working with? Do we understand the complexities and differences that different people bring to an environment? Do we even understand how a person processes, thinks, functions and engages?
Belief: Do we know someone well enough that we can truly believe in them and for them in a leadership context? Do we get to know people well enough that belief and trust are a given, rather than something that is needed to be proven?
Atunement: Are we in tune with those around us, so we understand their different characteristics, capabilities, and needs?

Empathy removes the need for perception or assumption, as it enables a leader to fully understand someone.

How best to empathise with someone: spend time with them, talk to them, understand them, ask them questions, journey together. It isn’t about jumping to conclusions due to what has been observed from a distance in a short period of time.

So as leaders, let’s start removing elements of assumption, elements of perception, and let’s truly understand people, believe in people and be in tune with them also.

Lifestyle

Which comes first, lifestyle or God? A silly question, some would say; the answer might even appear to be obvious. But I wonder how many of us would really say that, despite our prayers, our worship songs, even our talking about it, God really does come first and is the centre of our lives?

If people could really see into the thoughts, actions and words that come from us, would they identify God coming first?

Recently I felt challenged when I heard someone ask the question: does God fit around your lifestyle, or does your lifestyle fit around God? A challenge indeed, especially maybe to those of us who are leaders!!

More and more, I find myself saying sorry, God, that you don’t come first as much as you should; I want my lifestyle to reflect something of you, but I want you to be at the centre of my life.

I wonder – where you would say you were if asked this same question?