There’s No I in Team, But…

Youth Specialties
August 31st, 2016

You ever hear that before?

I remember when I was growing up that was a popular poster in locker rooms, classrooms and pretty much any other place you may need to work together with people.

I always thought it was a great statement about what being on a team is all about.  We all know that if we want a team to function in the best and most efficient way possible, it can’t be about us as an individual. It’s about the collective group. The team.

Obviously…and if not obviously, hopefully we as youth pastors know how essential this truth is.

But I want to go a little deeper with the team dynamic.  Now some of us were probably able to finish off the sentence started in the title of this post.  Sometime after the “There’s no I in team” statement became popular, some sarcastic people started to add this little quip to it.  “There’s no I in team….but there is a me.”

Here’s the thing. Don’t overlook where I am about to take this. Of course, a team cannot succeed with selfish personalities on it. That’s a given. What’s not always a given is the essential role the leader plays in selecting, developing and leading the team to their fullest potential.

This is something that most definitely falls on me and you as the leaders in our ministries.

A healthy team dynamic is literally a nonnegotiable when it comes to any area of ministry.  I want to give you three other statements that will help you in creating a healthy team dynamic.  These three things most definitely start with us as the leader.

  1. “Finding the right person always trumps using the most talented person.”

 Selecting the right people to form your team can save you a lot of headaches later on.  A key point to understand is that it’s not always about the most talented people.  It’s about the right people.  Let me give you an example.  I’m a pretty big sports fan/follower and I am convinced that one of if not the most important job in any sports franchise is the General Manager, the guy in charge of putting the right people in the right spots. We’ve got to be good at this if we want to create healthy teams.

What does your team selection process look like? If you someone want’s to join your team, what are the requirements they have to meet?  As leaders, we have to have systems in place that help us learn who people are and why they want to be on our team.  You accomplish this through leader application forms, one-on-one conversations and simply asking “Why do you want to be on the team?”

If you want examples of what we use in our student ministry system, please email me I’d love to get them to you!

  1. “Understand the Why before the What.”

Developing the members of your team consistently will lead to a greater and farther impact for you ministry.  How does this happen?  Healthy teams always know the WHY behind WHAT they are doing.  We need to change our focus from getting people to fill spots to getting vision to fill our people. A compelling vision of why your ministry exists is a must have. And this vision must be known, memorized, written down, battle cried by all members of your team.  If they know the why behind the what and believe in it, they will literally do anything to make that vision come true.

For instance, our student ministry is called Reach.  And our vision is “to create a place students love. A place they can experience Jesus, life-giving community and life-changing purpose.”

We have to know our vision and how to communicate it in a compelling way to our team.  A healthy team grows and develops around a healthy vision.

  1. “Lead by Serving and Celebrating.”

Leading in the way you serve your team and how often you celebrate them will ultimately contribute to the longevity of a healthy team.  Make the people that serve with you feel appreciated and validated.  Think about ways you can serve your team. At all our leader meetings, we provide free food.  We will be starting to serve free coffee to our leaders each night for youth group.  These are simply ways you can implement to serve your team as the leader. You make the decisions, so make one that serve your team.  Celebrate life-change wins constantly in front of the team. Celebrate leader who are doing an awesome job in front of the team.  We have a Team Encouragement Flowchart that I would love to share with you. It consistently reminds us to give credit where credit is due to encourage our team members who are really living out our vision.

“There’s no I in team…but there is a me!”

It you want to leader a healthy team, you must lead yourself healthy. It’s a must!

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on the wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep following Jesus.

Your Friend,


ryan miller headshotRyan Miller is the student pastor at COUNTRYSIDE CHRISTIAN CENTER in Clearwater, FL.  He has been serving in youth ministry for close to ten years and am extremely passionate about our Savior Jesus Christ, Student Ministry, Seinfeld and Star Wars.  He offers resources and weekly blog posts at WWW.ORDINARYYOUTHPASTOR.COM. Follow him @RYANMILLER88

Youth Specialties

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