These are the skeleton notes from last night’s ‘Monthly Meet’ training event for North Wales youth leaders.
The aim of this session was to propagate conversation on how we can grow as effective team members and leaders and how we can inspire others to do so together.
We began by mind-mapping basic and fundamental principles of ‘ideal’ teams and team members. We came up with lots of quality points such as communication, identity, creativity, celebration, ownership, flexibility and servant-heartedness – Lots of great discussion ending with a short Bible Study on 1 Cor. 12. The most fundamental points from this passage for our conversation were:
A– At the heart of God is both unity and diversity
B– At the heart of God’s design for people in community is unity and diversity
C– Godly communities look like God!
Therefore: For teams to behave in the way that God designed them to be – after His own image – they must celebrate and seek unity of vision and spirit and yet diversity in gifts, roles, abilities, personalities and passions. In doing this the team will model God’s own heart and character – thus will be effective and generally just awesome!
We decided that in the midst of diversity there are some traits common to every team member that are always healthy to cultivate. The three of these that we would focus on for the remainder of the session were Faithfulness, Availability and Teachability. This gives us the somewhat awkward acronym ‘f.a.t.’ Sorry.
Bible – We looked together at both Deut.28:1-5 and Heb. 13:8. The former taught us that faithfulness required hearing from God, recognizing His voice and acting upon it. The latter verse reminded us that Faithfulness requires consistency – being faithful for five minutes isn’t necessarily faithfulness. Faithfulness is something modeled perfectly in Jesus and reveals the Father’s heart to us.
Practical – Faithful to whom / what? We looked at the following and placed them in the following order of priority. These we’re things to look for in potential team members, things to point out and celebrate in current ones and things to cultivate in ourselves:
– Faithful to God – Seeking Him first and remaining His children and disciples.
– Faithful to ourselves – Being good stewards of our own families and resources.
– Faithful to the team – Investing in each other and in team ownership so that we might serve and encourage each other to bring our best and be held accountable. Without this the next doesn’t work.
– Faithful to young people – In love, respect, consistency, role-modeling, interest and teaching.
– Faithful to the mission – knowing and owning a clear purpose and focus of what your team is trying to accomplish.
We ended this section by thinking about some of the behavioral traits that ‘faithful’ people often exude such as:
– Contradict gossip.
– They model the behavior and commitment that they expect from others.
Bible – We looked at Is. 6:8 and 1 Cor. 26-28. The first verse reminded us that availability has something to do with an openness and general willingness to be used by God in His plans and purposes. The second verse contrasted availability with ability; God often chooses the available over the able because then we are left in no doubt that a powerful and epic God was behind it.
Practical – Available to who / for what / when? We talked over the following:
– Available for God – to be used by Him wherever and however He pleases.
– Available as ‘Interested Adults’ – being good listeners and genuinely interested in young people individually.
– Available with clear expectations and accountability – making sure that yourself and your team have agreed what is to be expected of them and to hold them accountable to those things.
– Available with a servant heart – seeking the Christ-like desire to put others first, work hard and cultivate servant-heartedness.
We again thought about the behavioral habits and traits of ‘available’ people. Here’s some of what we came up with:
– Good listeners.
Bible – We looked at Is. 64:8 and Prov. 1:1-7. Isaiah taught us to remember that all we have comes from God and that we should be usuable and adaptable to be grown for His purposes. Proverbs reminded us that apart from teachability being incredibly helpful, not being so is idolatry, foolishness and something that will draw us away from God. Powerful stuff!
Practical – How to maintain a teachable spirit? We looked at a few things that might lead us to do this:
– We don’t know everything – simple to start with but a good reminder that there’s always more!
– Developing humility – teachability is often the practical outworking of a humble heart. Its the smoke to humble’s fire.
– We can learn from who know more…AND we can learn from those who know less – Often we don’t learn because we decide we won’t learn – not because there wasn’t something worth learning.
– Non-teachability leads to isolation – without teachability you sap any potential accountability. A youth leader who is not accountable is just setting themselves up for disaster. They will know it – and so will their young people – too often too late.
As with the other two we talked about the behavioral characteristics and traits of a teachable person. Here’s some of what came out:- They ask more questions than give answers.
– They listen, hear and process – rather than thinking through responses when others are talking.
– They have open minds and personal sensibilities.
– They are content in who they are and where they are going.
– They are always looking for more.
To conclude things off we had some ‘final thoughts.’
1. If you notice these traits in your young people, celebrate them. If you notice the potential of all three in someone invest in them as leaders.
2. A good team reflection exercise is thinking through another ‘f.a.t’: Focus, Accountability and Teamwork (from here).
3. As it came up a few times, I found a good list of ‘servant-hearted leader qualities’ from the Bible (from here):