When I was a kid we played lots of neighborhood football. Now while I loved playing football, I was also one the smallest kids. So I learned fast that I needed to use my head and not just my hands if I was going to avoid being the last kid picked to play. And the way I did that was to pay attention in Jimmy’s huddles.
Jimmy was my friend and the best athlete in our neighborhood. No question. He was fast and focused and strong. (He was also a little crazy which made playing football with him both hilarious and terrifying at the same time.)
And Jimmy would pick me for his team every time because I paid attention in his huddles.
See, while Jimmy was the best athlete in the neighborhood, he insisted on having the worst players on his team–like me. Now even though we were the Bad News Bears of our neighborhood, we won most games because Jimmy made us huddle when other teams didn’t.
Jimmy’s secret weapon was the huddle.
While other teams relied on their speed and power, Jimmy would tell us you won or lost the game in the huddle. So for every play–I mean EVERY SINGLE PLAY–He would huddle us together and trace out the routes and blocks he wanted us to run.
Even if we didn’t win the game, they were at least close. Those huddles were key to our success. (And besides, Jimmy could throw and catch his own pass–I am not kidding–so we always had that.)
As a church planter I am reminded that there is great power in the huddle. If you think about it, the huddle is an opportunity to…
- Strategize. Jimmy always had a strategy. We always returned to the huddle and Jimmy would call the play based on how he was reading the defense or how we were playing.
- Recalibrate. Jimmy used the huddle to help us understand where we were being outplayed and where he saw opportunities for us. He’d move us into new positions and spread the ball around.
- Celebrate. And when we inevitably scored (and we always did) Jimmy would celebrate during the next huddle. “Good run…or Great catch or…I told you that you could beat that kid.”
It’s too easy to let the task of your team become the priority. It’s not. People need to be reminded of WHY they are serving on a particular team as much as they want to understand HOW they are going to do it.
So how do you do this?
I’d recommend you have an AGENDA for your huddles. The agenda ensures you know what you’re trying to accomplish and why.
For example, after our Restore Roadies are done setting up our gear Sunday mornings we huddle. We provide the donuts and coffee for this moment and then our Service Coach for the day takes us through an agenda like this…
- REMIND contributors WHY we serve on this team. We always take this time to remind them why we are doing what we do.
- EXPLAIN the HOW. We talk at length about the details that are going to help us execute at a high level.
- REVIEW the team goal and what steps we are going to take to achieve that goal. We talk about the challenges our team is facing and how we are going to overcome them.
- Scripture MEDITATION: We always ask our leaders to personalize a meditation or insight from scripture or the message series that is making an impact on them that would also be relevant to the team.
- THANK OUR CONTRIBUTORS for serving. No doubt about it, they could be doing other things. So be sure to thank them for volunteering.
- INTRODUCE NEW CONTRIBUTORS to the TEAM. If people have said yes to volunteering then be sure to introduce them to the rest of the team.
- TELL A STORY or ANECDOTE about how the team is having an impact.
- We end our huddle with PRAYER. Always.
While the flow of the huddle changes, we cover the elements of this agenda every time.
Huddles are essential for your team to understand the HOW and the WHY. Use them generously.
What about you? Do you huddle with your team? What does your huddle agenda look like?
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