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On being and building a REAL team

By Greg Williams, CAD Director

Whether it’s a team in GCI’s Home Office, or the leadership team in one of our congregations, I believe it’s vital that we all become what I call a “REAL team”—one that possesses the characteristics listed in this box:

A REAL team is made up of real people with diverse personalities, experiences, talents, preferences and even faults. Bringing them together to form a REAL team is not easy, but it’s vital to being a healthy church.

How is your team?

Let me ask you some questions that will help you evaluate your leadership team: Do its members work well together? Do they trust one another? Are there deep relational connections? Do they share the same ministry vision? Do they work in a collaborative spirit to fulfill that vision? Is the experience of being on the team both challenging and rewarding? Is the team growing together—deepening its commitment to God and to one another? Are team members contributing out of their giftedness and passion? Are they in positions where they can do so? These are good questions to ask in honestly evaluating whether or not you have a REAL team, and thus if your congregation’s leadership is truly team-based.

Cladis on being team-based

George Cladis, in his book, Leading the Team-Based Church: How Pastors and Church Staffs Can Grow Together into a Powerful Fellowship of Leaders, shows how important team-based leadership is to the health of a congregation. He paints a compelling, theologically-grounded vision for how effective leadership teams are built and then operate. I highly recommend his book, and hope your team will go through it together (click on the picture at right to order). If you do, I think you’ll be enlightened, strengthened and more aligned with who God is and who you are in him.

Cladis works from the foundational understanding of the perichoretic relations of the Trinity, viewed as a joy-filled “dance” in which the Father, Son and Spirit relate in perfect freedom, intimacy and harmony. God’s tri-personal relating is the ideal image for how we want to relate within our leadership teams—helping each one become a REAL team. As we know, doing so takes the triune God’s inspiration and empowerment.

“The Dance of Grace” by Mark Keathley (used with Art of the South permission)

Ways to build a REAL team

What can you do to help your leadership team become a REAL team? Here are three suggestions:

1. Spend time together

To establish and sustain relational connections, a REAL team has frequent interactions. They meet, of course, to attend to regular church business. But they also meet just to bond. For that, I suggest having an annual retreat where there is opportunity for deep sharing, assessment and focused prayer, along with meaningful planning. I also suggest that the team play together. Doing so deepens a sense of community and trust.

2. Pray together

I have in mind here the need for more than prayers bookending team meetings. CAD team members report to one another each month in writing (we’re scattered around the country). Those reports have a section devoted to personal prayer requests. I’m honored and grateful knowing that my dear colleagues are praying for the needs and wants of the Williams family! As you pray for each other on the team, don’t forget to follow up on the results, so team members can rejoice in what God is doing. A REAL team has this quality of genuine sharing and caring.

3. Be washed in the Word together

It’s easy for a leadership team to slip into merely doing routine church business (budgets, schedules, etc.) forgetting the importance of helping one another grow as disciples of Jesus. I recommend that team meetings include some time devoted to discussing Scripture. You might also consider holding a Bible-based small group with your leaders for a part of the year (say six weeks). GCI has a long history of being a community of devoted Bible students—that’s a strength we don’t want to lose. A REAL team is informed and inspired by Holy Scripture.


For GCI, 2018 will be a year of transitions. One such transition is our continuing shift toward leadership that is more team-based—leadership that more fully reflects the reality that the body of Christ is a priesthood of all believers. I’ve heard many of our leaders say, “We can do more together than we can individually.” How true that is! Please live out this truth, experiencing the power of being a REAL team. I know you’ll be blessed if you do, for you will be participating in the reality of the perichoretic relations of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who invite you and your team into the deep relationships that come only from them.

2 thoughts on “On being and building a REAL team”

  1. Yes, I too am pleased to read this. There is a positive vibe to it, a sense of hope, a can-do attitude, yet in the company of fellow can-doers, led from above, now what did it say,….. deepening relationships in the company of the Father, Son, and Spirit. Yes, bring it on!
    A great summary such that I am moved to seek to obtain the book.

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