One of the books I never read for my thesis was Wayne Cordeiro’s Doing Church as a Team. I quickly read it a couple of days ago to figure out if it was aimed at teams or leadership. It is ultimately aimed at leadership of teams. The best point I found was the fact that a team should be four people and you can keep delegating down. So each member of a team of 4 builds a team of 4 and each member of that team builds a team of 4 and so on. This is the first material I have heard on the practicalities of team based work.

The reason I finally read Coreiro’s book was I had read a very different book on teams. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick M. Lencioni is a very practical book with the theory tucked at the end.  The descriptions Lencioni uses reminds me of places I have worked and had managers say exactly what some of Lencioni’s character say.

I really enjoyed the  book.  Now I expect if you have read this far you may be surprised that this is filed under theology rather than something else.  The reason the reading of Lencioni’s book became theological for me was finally understanding the issues of leadership that I struggle with.  I know within Australian Pentecostalism there is the idea that “everyone is a leader”.  This is a complete fallacy but it is still spoken about.  The answer I have realised is not to deny this but to say “Everyone is part of a team”.  Whether teams have captains or not is a different issue.  For the church the captain is Jesus and what that means for teams may need different interpretations.

The issue is not how do we empower people to be leaders but how do we empower them to be part of teams, people who trust one another, share deep feelings which sometimes leads to conflict,  being committed to the team and its vision, not avoiding accountability and paying attention to results.  This is a much bigger ask than empowering people to be leaders as we need to be part of functioning teams first.  Which means we have to overcome these own issues in our lives first.

Our salvation has become so individualistic that our service to God has gone the same way.  We must now all be leaders for God and not team players.  We can be individually saved by Jesus and not need the church. This was part of the thinking behind my thesis – why do we have church and how does it function?  The priesthood of all believers is not supposed to be individualistic but an exercise in team work.  These books confirm my thinking but it is Lencioni who will make me think for a while as to what to do about building teams.