How to Build Team Unity

If you team is struggling, perhaps it’s because you aren’t unified. WinLose

Highly effective teams need to be unified. Whether it’s business, marriage, or governments—to be effective teams need to be unified. 

The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime. – Babe Ruth

Team members need to play together well and that requires unity.

It’s the leader’s job to be the catalyst for team unity. This means you create it and cultivate it. When everyone is thinking about other things, you need to be asking yourself tough questions like: 

  • What evidence do I have that the team is unified?
  • What signals of disunity am I detecting?
  • Have I taken time to cultivate unity?

You build team unity in three ways:

  1. The team leader builds unity. This isn’t to suggest that team unity is built around the leader, only that one of the roles of a leader is to create and cultivate unity. The leader must be intentional about the unity of the team. If you your team isn’t unified, it’s your fault. You haven’t done 2 and 3.
  2. Build unity around a mission. The reason teams exist is to execute a mission. To build unity everyone must be aligned around the roles and goals of the team. 
  3. Build unity by accepting one another. People want to be heard and they want their contributions to matter. Teams are unified when people feel free to contribute to the cause and that their contributions are appreciated. This doesn’t mean everyone gets to do what they want if and when they want. But it does mean that you can’t treat everyone the same.

Effective leaders realize that we are individuals first, team members second. Unity is fostered we invite individuals to contribute their talent to a team that is aligned around a mission and accepting of one another.

What about you? What have you learned about building team unity that you can share with us?

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Learn to Finish Well!

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace (Acts 20:24).

In any transition, learn to finish well.

In case you hadn’t heard, I have transitioned from Restore to that of NewThing Director. It’s crazy. I am humbled by the opportunity. You can read more about it here.

Indeed, it has been a season of transition for me. I love my Restore team and it was very hard to get my head around the fact that God was calling me to start a new chapter with NewThing. But once I did I wanted to honor them by finishing well. Runners Falling Over

Let’s face it, transitions are a way fo life in church planting. God is at work in our lives and orchestrating the details. People are going to transition into and out of our teams. In Kingdom work, we cannot hold on to each other too tightly. God is always shuffling the deck.

And transitions can be either positive or negative. Choose to make a positive transition by finishing well.

Finishing well helps your team continue their work with minimal disruption and ensures that the relationships you have with your team endure. This honors God.

So what does finishing well look like?

Determine what your team needs for you to finish well. Ask your team what they need you to finish. Once you know what they need, keep asking. Check-in with them throughout the transition to ensure you’re meeting their needs.

Focus on your 15%. Don’t assume everyone know what you did on the team. Approximately 85% of what you do on your team, anyone can do. But there’s that 15% that is unique to each of us. Spend most of your time helping people understand the 15%.

Write it down. This should be obvious but your team isn’t going to have you around to answer questions after you leave. Ensure you’ve set them up for success by writing it down. And I am not talking about a few notes on a Post-It Note. Write down processes and procedures so that they know the details.

Spend time with people on your team. You are more than what you did for the team. This is still all about relationships isn’t it? Ensure your transition plan includes enough time for you to meet with people on your team to talk shop but mostly to tell them how much they mean to you.

Train the new people. Spend lots of time investing in the person(s) who is going to take over your roles and responsibilities. Ensure that you go above and beyond to help them be successful.

Remember, wanting to transition well is up to you. But if you don’t, you’re just going to mess up the race for everyone on your team.

What have you learned about transitioning well that you can share with the rest of us? 

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Who is Changing the World Around You?

As a church planter, you have a unique perspective to the myriad ways God is at work in the people around you. No one else has this unique perspective into the community you are leading. And therefore you have an opportunity to affirm world change when you see it. vantage point

God works in big ways. Sometimes a leader does step up and lead in an extraordinary way. Sometimes someone gives generously and radically to the need of another. These are all important to recognize.

But God often works in small and quiet ways…

  • Someone tells you of their insight or a-ha moment on their journey with Jesus.
  • Someone begins serving even though it’s outside of their comfort zone.
  • You witness someone investing themselves in a tough relationship.
  • You hear about people praying for each other.
  • Someone joins a small group for the first time.

…there are countless ‘small ways’ in which God is at work.

Do whatever it takes to record these ‘world changing moments.’ Carry paper and pen with you. Or maybe type a note on your phone. However you do it doesn’t really matter.

What matters is that you take the time to recognize and affirm world change when you see it.

Maybe you celebrate them during a leadership gathering. Maybe you send them a text or call them. Better yet, send them a hand-written note.

My point is to make recognizing world change part of the rhythm and routine of your day. It’s so easy to get caught up in the tasks of church planting. Learning to recognize world change around you and affirm it is one of your unique opportunities you have as a church planter.

So who is changing the world around you? Contact them and let them know you’re inspired or grateful–or both.

What are some other ways you can begin recognizing people changing the world?

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I am Ready to Find a Leadership Resident But I Don’t Know Where to Start!

So you’re convinced that a leadership resident is necessary for you to start a movement of reproducing churches. Good–I am glad. Because you’re right. findaresident

Most planters I talk to get really excited about the idea of a leadership resident joining their team. But then most admit they don’t even know where to start looking.

The truth is, residents are not going to just show up on your door. (Some will–but most wont.) You’re going to need to connect with others and find them.

Recruiting a resident comes down to networking and meeting with residency prospects.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you find a leadership resident:

  1. Have you clarified exactly what a residency will look like for you and your team? Have you received coaching and input from others who already train residents? Can you articulate your vision and process for a resident clearly?
  2. Are you communicating externally? Are you telling others (church planters, pastors etc.) that you’re looking for a resident. Are you tapping your relational networks and letting them know you’re looking?
  3. Are you communicating internally? Are you casting vision to potential leaders within your organization that you are looking for a resident?
  4. Are you praying?
  5. Are you making space in your schedule to meet with potential residents? Does finding a resident get space on your calendar or not?
  6. Are you pursuing residents you have connected with? Are you following up with prospects that have expressed an interest in residency and making time to meet with them? Or are you letting others meet with them?
  7. Are you asking others (staff, network partners, etc.) to help you connect with new residents through their relational networks.
  8. Are you talking to current leadership residents to find out who they might know?
  9. Are you attending conferences like Exponential and others to build relationships with potential residents.
  10. Are you offering basic assessments to residents to help them understand how they’re wired and whether they might be a good fit for you and your team.

If you’re interested in a leadership residency with my tribe, NewThing, hit me up. I’d love to talk to you.

So what about you? How do you start recruiting leadership residents. What has worked for you that can help the rest of us.

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Interview with Church Planter, Mike Evans — Discover Church

I started Mission Glue for one reason: to help church planters plant healthy reproducing churches. One way to do that is to hear from practitioners. I want to hear from church planters who are actually planting churches. You may not have heard of them but they have learned a ton and can teach us much. MIke and Wendy 6.10

I recently had the privilege of talking to Mike Evans, Lead Planter of Discover Church in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

I first met Mike when he arrived at Restore for a Leadership Residency. Mike had been on staff at a mega-church in Wichita and therefore brought some experience to the table. Through relationships with people in Kansas City, Mike moved his family to the Kansas City area with a dream of planting a church for people far from God.

Mike attended assessment and also spent 5 months as a Leadership Resident with Restore. During his time he did everything right in my opinion. He attended assessment. He leaned into the phases of the residency. He remained teachable and worked hard to reproduce small groups and teams. Mike is also a runner (like me) and so I loved that a couple of our meetings were on the trail.

While Mike was sent by a group of churches for the purposes of accountability/management/funding/encouragement, Mike did plant solo. He’s careful to admit that he wouldn’t do that again–too hard!

Mike launched Discover in November 2010. Mike is also a New Thing church.

Tell us about your family? discoverchurch

I’ve been married for 19 years (20 this summer) to an amazing, gracious, gifted woman named Wendy. 4 kids, Andy – graduating in May, will be attending Univ. of Central Missouri this fall, majoring in Marketing; Katie, 8th grader and the most content, sweet kid in history; Zach, 6th grader and the smartest 12 year old on the planet; and Mindy, 2nd grader and the snuggliest little blondie ever.

How is your family part of your church planting adventure?

This is OUR deal, not mine. Everyone plays a role seemingly every week. I just baptized my 12 year old’s best buddy. My wife leads in kids and helps with admin and women’s stuff. My kids are all in on anything service-oriented we do. I couldn’t do this without their hearts being in it too. Just no way that happens. We never would have even started without the family buy-in.

When did Jesus become real for you?

August 9, 1980, at a place called Vesper Hill on Lake Bridgeport, TX

Why are you a church planter?

Because I couldn’t get on at the railroad? Umm, honestly the vision wouldn’t leave me alone and if I didn’t plant a church or at least try it would have been an act of disobedience to God’s call on my life.

What circumstances led you to believe God was calling you to plant a church?

I was serving faithfully at a church in Wichita, when two friends convinced me to connect with a dude named Justin (The Heartland Project) who directs a church planting organization. We started talking, praying, dreaming, and here we are today.

Where is your 3rd place?

Two of them really Xtreme Fitness and McDonalds down the street. I know, I’m cheap but there you go.

Describe the cultural ethos you hope to create/created at Discover.

We love our Jesus and our city and are very intentional about building a place where people not yet in love with Jesus can take one step closer, and where people who are can take one step deeper.

What difference will your church plant make in the community?

We want to impact the spiritual landscape of LS. We’re very involved in Downtown Main Street, partnering with a local elementary school, a local youth outreach called Pro Deo, lots and lots of stuff. We want the city to be ticked if we ever decided to bail.

How are you developing people? Staff, volunteers, launch team?

Through our small groups, our serve teams, one-on-one discipleship relationships, neighborhood parties, tons of stuff.

What have your learned about raising funds for your project that can help the rest of us?

Get as many churches as you can to come alongside you and then use the Lead Pastors of those churches to serve as your management team until you raise up internal leadership.

What is/was the great challenge you faced planting your church and how did you overcome it?

Licking the challenge of developing leaders when we started with so many people so far from God. So may broken people, so much to do, and it takes time to grow them. We honestly need to do a better job at apprenticing people in all areas.

Who inspires you and why?

My wife. I’ve learned more about Jesus, service, unconditional love, and grace from her than anyone else in my life. She’s so fun and just being with her, well, there’s a reason we have four kids and it’s not because I like kids so much!

How are you caring for yourself while planting?

Taking Mondays as a Sabbath is key. I work out 5-6x/week, running, light lifting, that kind of thing. Just the basics-consistent prayer, Bible study, reading a lot, trying to stay a real person and not play the “role” of pastor.

Do you have a plan for planting more churches/campuses etc. What is it?

Yes. We have a Leadership Resident coming this fall who will by God’s grace launch a new church in Fall 2014.

If you could ask a church planter you don’t know one question, what would it be?

Who do you think will make the playoffs again first, the Royals or the Chiefs? Seriously, I’d ask a question about how s/he deals with self-talk and discouragement successfully.

What is your favorite band and why?

Sorry dude but I have a couple. When I’m feeling mellow it’s definitely Allison Krauss and Union Station. Because they just get it done. When working out it’s definitely Rush. Cuz Geddy can sing, Alex can riff, and Neil is the best ever.

I am grateful to Mike for sharing his experiences and insights with us. Will you do me a favor and pray for Mike and the Discover team right now.

You can find more of my INTERVIEWS WITH CHURCH PLANTERS here.

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If you are planting a church or if you’re part of a planting team, I’d love to talk to you about the details. Leave a comment or shoot me an email. Thanks for reading–I do appreciate it.