You have probably read a million articles on the importance of developing great teams or great leaders within your church or organization. Well, I’m going to give you article number 1,000,001 on the subject. Developing great teams and leaders is an endeavor that must be taken seriously if you want to see continued healthy growth in your church or organization. Even leading creative teams requires meaningful and intentional development. Most of us can say that we have either been a part of a healthy team or an unhealthy team. And if you’re like me, you have been a part of the good, the bad and the ugly sides of churches or organizations.
At the core of every healthy church or organization are teams that have these three forces working hand in hand – Work, Labor, and Endurance. Quick disclaimer: I didn’t come up with them. In fact, I found them in 1 Thessalonians 1:3 which says, “We recall, in the presence of our God and Father, your work produced by faith, your labor motivated by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” Not to get too deep into what is happening, but Paul is talking to a young vibrant church who was facing many challenges. Yet, because of their work, labor, and endurance, Paul uses this young flourishing church as an example for other churches to follow. Basically Paul is saying, “Look how hard the church of Thessalonica is working, laboring, and enduring – yeah, be more like them.” Let’s take a gander at these three core elements that played a huge part in the success of this young church:
- Work. Work in this context comes from the greek work ergon, which means to work towards accomplishing something. Too many teams and organizations work really hard, but very few of them are working to accomplish the same task. Show me an unhealthy organization/church and I’ll show you a team that is not working towards the same goals. The success of the Thessalonians was due in part because they were working towards the same goal – seeing the gospel flourish. ATTENTION LEADERS: Contrary to what you may think, your teams, organizations, and churches desperately need you to give them a clear vision to work towards – which means you will have to set goals and expectations in order for them to see that vision come to life.
- Labor. Labor is slightly different than work. Labor, in this context, means to toil or labor until you are fatigued. (No, I’m not talking laboring to the point of burn out.) Teams that don’t go home exhausted are wasting your organizations money and time. These Thessalonians worked their tails off because they knew the reward was not of this world. Knowing that Jesus was their reward gave them plenty enough reasons to labor. If your organization or church is not laboring with laser focus to the point of exhaustion, it will either 1) Fail or 2) continue to suck the life out of the people who are a part of it.
- Endurance. I believe that endurance is a large part of this because I’m sure they wanted to quit. Let’s be honest, we all have been at that point where we feel like it’s just best to quit. Endurance, however, is a lost art in our culture and churches. When things aren’t going our way, it’s just easier to quit. When we have a creative idea that we just can’t seem to piece together, what do we do? We quit. Especially in the church world. Think about the people who’ve quit coming just because something wasn’t going their way. If we are going to be a healthy team or have healthy organizations/churches, we have to get over our personal preferences and learn the art of endurance. The Bible also teaches us that if we endure, we will reap a harvest. (Galatians 6:9). If our teams, organizations, or churches do not endure, not only do we lose, but the city we dwell in will also lose.
Do you want to build a foundation for a healthy organization or church? Then develop a team who works towards the same goals, labors to the point of exhaustion, and endures to the end, even when things don’t go your way.