4 Ingredients for Developing Great Teams

by Dow Tippett

Let’s talk briefly about how to work with people. Specifically, how to find, train, and keep the best people on your team.

First, let me lay some context. Bill Hybels said the local church is the hope of the world. These principles will work in your family, in your full-time job if it’s outside of your ministry role, but we are going to talk specifically about working with people in the setting of the church.

Here is my premise: Everyone is a leader! Everyone can become a better leader.

However, you will never lead a ministry team effectively unless and until you become a great team player. You will never lead more effectively than you follow.

Here are 4 ingredients to working well with people:

T-Trust

First, we must build relationship and rapport.

Trust is built on the basis of competence, chemistry, and character.

If you are good at what you do, people will want to help you, but if you don’t have chemistry with them, they won't stay long. A team without chemistry creates silos where people do work that has individual accomplishment but there is very little interaction between parts.

I have seen great leaders attract people around them based on their competence, they build relationship and have fun with great chemistry, but if the leader lacks character, the team will operate with dysfunctional. The needed foundation of trust will not be strong to build on.

We build trust when we work as a team with people. When people get the idea they are working for us and not with us, they will resent us. When we value them, and invite them to work with us, it’s more about we than me.

Trust is vital to the recruiting process. You will have to build trust to build a team, and if you break trust it will always impact your team.

I-Investment

You have to put more into people than you take out. If you don’t invest in the people around you, you will not have great relationships and you will not be able to maintain a healthy team.

You have to know when to invest, why you are investing, who to invest in, how to invest the right things to get the right return. This requires intuition, which is often gained through experience. Don’t be afraid to fail, but always fail forward.

Training is all about investing in people. Training is not just telling people what to do or how to do it. People have to know you care. People have to know that you will be there for them. People have to know that you care more about helping them become who God has created them to be.

Every leader needs a clear vision on what they are doing and why, but how we engage people and involve them should help them become something more. We need to see people as apprentices that we are helping to prepare for God’s next step for them and not slaves to only serve our vision at the expense of the vision God has placed in their heart.

M-Maturity

We need to help people grow spiritually, emotionally, and relationally, in their leadership. Some people are immature in their relationship with God, they may be immature in their work ethic, they may be immature in their communication skills, they may be easily offended, maturity is vital to getting along with people.

I look for maturity in potential leaders, but I also look for a desire for growth, someone may have some areas of maturity, but if they don’t have a desire for growth, then they may not be flexible in the areas that you need them to learn and adapt to the team.

Maturity empowers others and allows them to learn and grow and make mistakes without getting upset or blowing up. Maturity is patient with others. Think about the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. I don’t care how full of the Spirit you think you are if you can’t be patient with people and allow them to make a mistake and not jump down their throat, then you need another dose.

There are certain toxic things that cannot be allowed even in any form, deception, rebellion, strife, murmuring, complaining. We must shut those things down quick. It’s not ok on our team, it’s not ok in our church, its not ok in our community. But everything else, deserves patience.

Maturity sets people up for success, not failure. Maturity is being secure in who we are so others can be secure in who they are. With maturity diversity brings unity. The body of Christ is full of diversity, our church is full of diversity, our maturity allows us to embrace people fully and come together on all the important things without splitting hairs on things that are not going matter in heaven.

E - Expectation

As a leader, our role is to understand what is expected of us, clearly define the expectations we have for our team, make sure those expectations are understood, ensure that those expectations are consistently being met, confront expectations that are not being met, and to honor, praise, and reward our team when they meet and exceed expectations.

1. Communicate Appreciation – Be clear and specific

2. Apologize – It is ok to be wrong. People follow your strength, but connect to your weakness.

3. Set a plan – Make sure goals, strategy, and KRA’s (Key Responsibility Areas) are clearly defined

4. Set a timeline – Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” So, set clear timelines or every task will take forever!

5. Love and encourage

 

So, here is the conclusion: Developing great teams requires TIME. Trust, Investment, Maturity, and Expectation set the stage for great work, but developing these skills takes time. Be diligent, be clear, and be patient.

3 Lessons for Using Your Abilities

by John & Jannon Fitzpatrick

Recently, Jannon and I did a series at Uprising on the abilities and talents that God has given each of us. We would like to share a little of what we shared on Wednesday nights, with you.

If I were to ask you to give me a list of your abilities or talents, would you be able to confidently give me a list? Or would you tell me that you feel like you have no abilities or talents?  Many of us struggle with thinking that we have no abilities or talents. I have felt this way about myself at times, my wife has felt this way about herself, too.

When I went to Bible College everyone there could sing, play an instrument, act and here I was afraid to even talk in front of people. I could pretty easily talk to people one on one or even go up to a stranger and make conversation, but I thought anyone could do that. In a smaller setting with a few friends I could make people laugh or bring encouragement to people who were down, but that wasn’t an ability from God, right? My wife is good at typing and organizing but she thought that’s not a talent.  Anyone can type on a computer; anyone can do office work, right?  In our minds, we thought the real talents were to be able to sing, play the guitar or piano, being artistic, having crazy athletic ability, or some of the more obvious outward talents.  But we both have learned that while these ARE all talents that God gives, they are not the ONLY gifts or abilities that He gives.  It took us both a long time to figure that out. It was only through spending time in God’s Word and serving in the church, that we found out that God did give us gifts and talents and it’s okay to acknowledge that. 

So when we talk about abilities, what are we talking about?  The dictionary describes abilities as talent, skill, or expertise in a given area.  Let’s look at what the Bible has to say about abilities…

1 Peter 4:10-11 NLT “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ.”

As we can see in this verse, God has a great variety of gifts that he has to give! This means that gifts are not just limited to a few outward and obvious gifts. 

So based on this scripture, we’re going to look at 3 specific things that God has to say about the Abilities He’s given us.

  1. Every single person has a gift or ability given to them by God!

    Let’s look at 1 Peter 4:10, where it says God has given EACH OF US a gift.  EACH of us means NO ONE is excluded…

    Jeremiah 1:5 NLT  “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”

    Just like God knew Jeremiah before he was born, God also knew YOU before YOU were born. He set YOU apart and gave YOU gifts and abilities!  Sometimes those abilities are more upfront things like preaching, singing, playing musical instruments, being good at art, or sports, but other times, these gifts are what we see in

    1 Corinthians 12:8-11, where Paul mentions other things as being gifts such as:  giving wise advice, special knowledge, special faith, and proclaiming truth.  Other gifts mentioned in the Bible are gifts of administration, the ability to encourage others, and helping others when they’re down…all of these things are gifts, too!

    So say this with me:  God has given me, abilities and talents, that are uniquely my own, to use for His glory. So, now that we see that ALL of us have God-given abilities on the inside of us, how do we figure out what these abilities are?

     

  2. We find our abilities by serving others!  

    Going back to 1 Peter 4:10 again, it says to Use the gifts to SERVE one another. We start off with serving.  Having a servant’s heart is simply finding out what needs to be done and working to do it.  It’s through the SERVING in different areas that we find out what we’re drawn to or what we have abilities in.  The Bible says in Proverbs 18:16 A man's gift makes room for him and brings him before great men.  In other words, as we are serving and helping others, God will open doors before us to allow the gifts he’s placed on the inside of us to come out.

     

  3. We are responsible to use and develop our abilities.

     1 Peter encourages us to use our abilities with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything we do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. No matter what gifts or abilities we have, we know that each one is given by the Holy Spirit.  Every gift or ability is important and has great value.  We are responsible to use and sharpen our gifts in order to honor God.  God gives the talent, but it’s up to us to work at it to help it mature and grow. The Bible says, If we are faithful with the small things, we can be trusted with bigger things.

    Most of us have probably heard the Parable of the Talents found in Matthew 25:14-30. An owner was going away, so he entrusted his things to different people.  The owner gave 5 talents to one person, 2 to another, and 1 to another.  The person with 5 and the person with the 2 talents worked at it and doubled their talents. But the person with 1 talent was full of fear and was lazy, so he buried his talent and did nothing with it.   When the owner came back, he was proud of the men with 5 & 2 talents, but he rebuked the man who buried the one because he had done nothing to develop his talent.

    So, as we can see through this parable, it’s not how MANY talents we have, it’s what we do with the specific talents that God has given us.  It’s easy for me to look at others and see the many things their good at.  We could spend our whole life trying to be good at everything that others are good at, while ignoring the abilities that God has placed inside of us.  But when we stand before God, he’s only going to look at what we did with what he gave US, not what we did with what He gave someone else. We are only responsible for recognizing and developing the individual abilities that God has given us.  God will not hold us responsible for other people’s gifts or abilities. 

    So, we have a choice to make.  Are we going to be like the man who buried his talent because he was lazy and afraid, and embarrassed because he felt it wasn’t as good as someone else’s?  Or are we going to be like the men who recognized the talents and abilities that God had given them, and work hard to learn, study, and grow those talents so we can multiply them and use them for God’s glory?

    Let’s decide to take God at His Word and trust that whether we see it right now or not, God HAS given EACH of us abilities.  Let’s SERVE one another and allow those abilities to come to the surface, and let’s work hard to DEVELOP those abilities by working at them, being thankful for them, and being faithful even in the small, seemingly insignificant things!

The Unwritten Story

by Dow Tippett

“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.”

John 21:25 NASB

As the Apostle John finishes his telling of the good news about Jesus, he tells us that it only contains a small portion of what Jesus did. However, in chapter 14:12, John does include these words of Jesus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” Then in Acts we read Luke’s accounting of all that the Holy Spirit did in the early days of the church.

For a long time in my walk with God I struggled with the Book of Acts, because it just ends. It ends as if the story isn’t finished. This bothered me until I realized, it isn’t. The Holy Spirit is still at work and doing great works in God’s people today.

In fact, the Holy Spirit is the way we interact with God today. When Christians talk to God in prayer those prayers go through the Holy Spirit. When someone says, they heard from God, that voice belongs to the Holy Spirit. When we “feel” God’s presence, we are feeling the Holy Spirit.

God is, according to scripture, three in one. Christians use the word “trinity” to describe this truth about God. In history, God has intervened as a powerful heavenly being, who cast down fire, sent plagues, and called people to repent of their evil again and again. He then came in the flesh as Jesus, the very essence of God in the body of man. As Jesus of Nazareth, He healed wounds, bound up the broken, cast out demons, forgave sins and conquered death. Now God moves by His Holy Spirit.

This Spirit is just as powerful, just as loving, just as forgiving, but is also often quieter, gentler, and less obtrusive. Have you ever wondered, “Why?”

The truth is the Holy Spirit is also extremely inclusive. The part of God that is the Holy Spirit, wants to include His people in all His work. He desires desperately to use you and I to do powerful things, say powerful things, and act in powerful ways. Instead of rushing ahead to do all the work without us, he invites us to participate, like a father or mother might do with their children.

God is still writing His story, and you are invited to be a part of it. The Holy Spirit is available to all who would turn away from their own way of living and move towards God. Then start a new life by being buried with Christ in water immersion and raised with Him again. If you want to “walk with God,” you simply need to reach out and surrender to Him. If you want to know more stop by church this Sunday. We would be happy to answer your questions, or contact us today.

Two Inescapable Keys to Church Growth

by Dow Tippett

These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

Acts 1:14 NASB

After Jesus raised from the dead and ascended into heaven in front of many witnesses, the disciples and women gathered together for prayer back in the upper room. In fact, the Bible says, they were in constant prayer with constant passion applied to the prayer.

It is in this time that the apostles choose a new person to make their number 12 again, and it is in this state that the Holy Spirit Comes on Pentecost.

Time and again I hear Christians praying for the Spirit of God to fall like that day. We laud the fast growth of some churches, and bemoan the shrinking of others. We say, “God, we just need another revival like that day.”

But the 120 disciples gathered in that upper room constantly continued in consistent prayer for 10 days!

That prayer meeting produced some direction, and they followed it; choosing a new apostle by God’s lead. Then revival came.

So, let me ask did God honor the disciple’s procedural decision in choosing Mathias? Did the church grow only because of prayer?

If Acts chapter one is to be understood, God uses both.

Many churches in America today are struggling to reach the lost, but I doubt it is because they don’t pray. Often God does not add to the numbers of a church, because the church doesn’t have the capacity to disciple those numbers. When churches choose to change their procedures to prepare for growth, God often brings growth.

Now don’t get me wrong, procedure can bring growth without God, but it won’t last. The second thing that surprises me is how short lived our prayers for revival are. When was the last time your church held a 24-hour prayer vigil for 10 days straight? We claim we want revival, but we don’t put the time in. Now don’t hear what I am not saying, God can bring revival, but so often we are too busy to ask for it with constant passionate prayer.

If we don’t have time to pray for revival for ten days, how will we be able to disciple thousands for 3 years or more?

God will bring revival when we create the capacity to handle what God can bring. We need to demonstrate the capacity in our procedure and our prayer.

For further reading: try How to Break Through Growth Barriers by Carl George and Warren Bird.

Hope Beyond the Grave

by Dow Tippett

"He made a way where there was no way, and I believe he'll do it again." - Do it Again, Elevation Band

 Have you ever felt trapped? Have you struggled and struggled only to seemingly get nowhere? Do you live with or love someone for whom you think there is no hope left? What if I told you, "There's always hope," would you struggle to believe it?

 Sometimes this broken world can convince us that there are limits to hope, limits to redemption, limits to restoration, but there is only one end no one comes back from. Death.

 But wait...Jesus even came back from the grave. He came back from crucifixion and suffering beyond our understanding. The Bible says he even came back from Hell. Jesus has conquered every circumstance for which there is no hope.

 And this is what the resurrection of Jesus means, "There is always hope." But understand there is not hope in just anyone, the only hope is in the one who has conquered all possibility of no hope.

 This is why Christians all over the world continue to celebrate Resurrection Sunday. Resurrection Sunday is the proof that Jesus is the Christ the son of the Son of the living God.

 Now I realize, there are a lot of people who will tell you there are other ways to find heaven, and there are some who will tell you heaven doesn't exist. Let me ask, did they come back from the grave? Were they dead three days? Did they choose to sacrifice themselves for all mankind's redemption?

 While the world rages against Christianity, Christendom celebrates, because we know the truth...Jesus is alive.

 Perhaps, like me, you would rather trust the one who has been there. Whatever circumstances you may be facing, whatever may have a hold on you, whatever has you feeling hopeless, there is a way out.

 Jesus Christ has conquered all, but what he claims is that he has overcome all, which means you can not only get past and away from the seemingly hopeless, but you can be free to discover more life than you have imagined. The resurrection is proof that there is a living God, and that He is available to whoever will follow Him.

 But here is the sticking point. You can't live life on your own terms any more. You have to be willing to follow His will for you. So many of us want to keep doing things our own way. Again, let me ask, "How's that working out?"

 The one who rose from the dead is available and there is no better time than now to seek Him. This Sunday churches all over our community will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, I want to encourage you to join them. If you need hope, you can find it there.

How Far God Will Go

by Dow Tippett

““Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.”

Matthew 26:34-35 NIV

As Jesus was wrapping up the Passover meal with his disciples, he began to make very clear all that lie ahead. The disciples as a group began to question Jesus statements about dying and about them abandoning him. We usually jump on Peter for boasting that he would die with Jesus, but notice that John tells us "the other disciples said the same."

So many of us stand up and profess our faith to God and others with boldness, and in all sincerity believe that we would go to our graves before we denied him. Then tragedy strikes: a child dies, a spouse leaves, a leader fails morally, and we turn on God so quickly.

We may not deny him publicly, but we begin to question his decisions, we question his goodness, we get angry and lash out. Too easily and too often we are exactly like the disciples. Sitting in the comfort of the upper room (or our church services) feeling his presence, we share just how much we love him, but in the darkness of days we find darkness still invades our soul.

How wonderful that the gospel, the Bible, the story of life is not about our resolve, but about God's. How did Jesus respond to Peter's claims? Jesus prayed for him. How did Jesus respond to Peter's denial? Jesus died for him. And when the power of God rose Jesus from the dead three days later, Jesus came to Peter. Jesus not only forgave him, but he gave him the calling and purpose for which Peter had longed.

So what if you have struggled with your faith? What if you have let bitterness toward God drive you from him? What if you or someone you love has denied you ever knew him? "God demonstrates His love for us in this: while we were still sinners Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

If we will follow him when we he comes to us again, we can be restored and set on an even more powerful path. A path that is no longer about how far we will go with Jesus, but how far we will go to feed his sheep.

Grasping the depth of God's love requires that we let his forgiveness be embraced, and realize how far God will go.

Three Key Factors in Helping Kids be Successful

by Shane Rhodehamel

So who is ultimately responsible for our young people, their choices, the outcomes of their lives?  How can we play a vital part in making a difference in the next generation?

Parents

 It all starts with parenting!  As parents, we can’t expect others to raise our kids for us, although we better have a plan to have lots of help. The responsibility of being a parent is no joke.  You must feed and clothe them, change their diapers, clean up their messes, and pray they don’t pick up all your bad habits and repeat them.  Many times, we live so exhausted with life and work that we don’t have the time or energy to focus on our parenting.  Our kids need our unconditional love, they need our encouragement, they need our discipline and accountability.  They need us to lead them by example and not just do as I say and not as I do.  You can’t expect honesty from your kids if you lie to them.  You can’t expect commitment from them if you are not committed to them.  You can’t expect them to sacrifice for the family if you don’t.  I have three kids, my wife and I have been very purposeful in our parenting, but we still have so much to learn.  To see a revolution in the next generation, we need to see a revolution in parenting.

The Church

No offense to any other organization, but I am a pastor and I think the church has a vital role to play in reaching the next generation.  I was a youth pastor for 7 years and my primary job was to assist parents in mentoring, encouraging, and helping their students grow spiritually.  The church as a whole has so catered to adults that we have lost an entire generation.  The Barna Research group found that 6 in 10 young people will leave the church permanently or for an extended length of time starting at age 15.  Across our nation and across our community, churches are realizing that if we don’t reach them in their youth, it only gets more challenging to help them as adults after they have many regrets.  The church as a whole has to see this need as real and important.  The church has to learn and re-tool to be effective in reaching the next generation.  The church needs to put our money where our mouth is if we are going to see genuine change in reaching the next generation.

Community

Parents and churches are vital, but the wild card of difference makers are the rest of us.  I call this the net factor.  Many times students and young people in general get calloused from hearing from their parents or their church.  They expect their parents to care, they expect their church to care, but they don’t expect you to care!  You can be the difference maker!  “But I am just a teacher.”  “I am just a bank teller.”  “I am just a grandma.”  “I am just a coach.” “I am just a ____________!”  Whatever you are, whoever you are, you have the potential to make a difference with a smile, a kind word, a note of encouragement.  Take an interest in a young person that has been misunderstood.  Buy a neighbor kids an ice cream sandwich.  Get involved in your child’s school.  Assist the coach or become a coach.  Purpose to make your house a place where your kids’ friends are welcome.  Make your business a place where young people feel welcome and encouraged.  If we work together, young people will grow up with great influences, great values, great aspirations and great dreams to becoming like the wonderful people that have invested in them!

Three Ways We Set Kids Up to Fail

by Shane Rhodehamel

Is it possible? Do the life events of a young person really shape the entirety of their life journey? It sure did for me!  In a previous article I shared some of my personal journey.  This week I want to identify some of the ways our culture sets up the next generation for failure.  This applies to the kids in our families, the students in our schools, the young people in our churches, and all the millennial generation of 20 “somethings” flooding into our work places.

First, we expect them to learn without being taught. 

We expect them to choose the right path on their own.  Young people need adults in their lives who care about them and their future.  They need someone to take time to show them how to be effective in their relationships. They need someone to show them how to make good choices.  They need encouragement and rewards for a job well done.  They need unconditional love and stability.  Young people need time with their parents and grandparents, as well as, coaches, teachers, pastors, community leaders, and other family members who will mentor them and encourage them as well as challenge them to greatness.

Second, many times we sell them short

We see them according to their past mistakes and not according to their potential.  We neglect to believe in them, empower them, and hold them to a higher standard.  We forget that just a few years ago, we were in their shoes just looking for someone to believe that we could amount to something.  Do you remember the teacher that saw something in you that others didn’t?  Do you remember a pastor or church leader that encouraged you to follow your dream?  Do you remember a coach that inspired you to press past your current physical or mental limits?  What about the boss who gave you a shot when you didn’t have much experience?  No young person has ever thought, man, I wish my parents wouldn’t be so encouraging.  I think all of us would agree that those people in our lives who believed in us, encouraged us, and inspired us are the real heroes!

We don’t stop treating them like children.

 Lastly, if we treat them like kids all the way through their teenage years, they will act like kids as adults.   This is a tough one for a lot of parents, teachers, and coaches.  Pastors can be the worst at this as well.  We enable our kids to be kids as adults because we make excuses for them, we clean up their messes, and we never hold them accountable for their actions.  When I got married, I had barely ever done my own laundry, I could only cook eggs and grilled cheese, and I seriously didn’t know how to clean a bathroom.  I learned quick but I simply did not ever have to do those things because my mom was amazing, but she didn’t realize that by doing things for me, I wasn’t learning how to do them.  We make too many decisions for our kids without letting them process the pros and cons.  In many cases, we don’t enforce real consequences for poor choices.  It is appropriate to do things for our toddlers and elementary aged kids.  When they enter teen years, we do things with them.  Part way through their teens, we should be allowing and expecting our kids to do things and we encourage them and coach them.  In other words, if they can’t take out the trash, clean their room, and help with their laundry, they shouldn’t get the keys to the family car. 

Mentoring the next generation is no small task, but I believe if we will actively engage in these goals, we will see the direct fruit in our families, schools, churches, and our community.