Sports analogies abound when you start thinking about building a team in the church or other workplace. Many times you will hear the story of the 1980 United States’ hockey team that pulled off one of the greatest upsets in sports’ history. Their epic defeat of the Soviet hockey team is referred to as “the miracle on ice.”
Coach Herb Brooks of the U.S. team faced a daunting task. His team was all amateurs, mostly college kids. They were seeded twelve in the tournament. The Soviet team had held the gold medal for twenty years. They were by far the most dominant hockey team in the world. They had recently destroyed an all-star team of professional players from the National Hockey League.
The 1980 U.S. hockey players were a team that defined every measure of positive teamwork.
Becoming a Team
Most all of you are part of a team. The team may be your workplace, your department, or the organization you serve. It may be the place where you volunteer your time. It may be your church. And you may be a member of the team, or you may be the leader of the team.
But how are the best teams built?
The Three Cs of Effective Team Players
When I am responsible for building a team, I keep in mind the three Cs: character, chemistry, and competency. Others have used similar nomenclature, so I take no credit for originality. And the three Cs are listed in their order of importance.
I must always begin with character. What is the person’s relationship with Christ? With his family? With others? Is his word good? Does she have a devotional life that honors the Lord? Without character, the other Cs are meaningless.
The second C is chemistry. I find that this aspect of team building is the most often overlooked. How would the person fit on the team? Would that person be loyal both to the area where he or she serves as well as the entirety of the organization? For the teams I have led or am leading, I look for people who are joyous, who know how to have fun while doing serious work, who exude a positive nature. I look for “can-do” people instead of those who always have a reason something won’t succeed.
It may be interesting to some that competency is listed last. Indeed the skills of competency are those typically listed on a resume. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate education, work experience, and other accomplishments. But a person with all the skill sets who has either weak character or poor chemistry can turn a well functioning team into a dysfunctional team.
Learning Team Building from Jesus
During his brief years on earth, Jesus assembled what seemed to be an unlikely team. Their vocations ranged from fishermen to tax collectors. And their temperaments ranged from fiery to quiet. Indeed the one with the most serious problem, Judas, didn’t pass the first C, so he was the first off the team as they began to turn the world upside down with the gospel.
For those of us who serve in Christian ministry, whether it is our paid vocation, or whether we are volunteers, the team on which we serve is critical. May we be committed to building teams with people of strong character, people who bring a positive chemistry to the team, and people who have skill sets necessary to carry out the most important tasks in the world.