Empowerment grows best in the context of teams and teamwork. A team is made up of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose and common goals, and hold themselves mutually accountable. Leaders must begin the transition from hierarchy to the team approach with strong, clear leadership and gradually move toward increased delegation and a more supportive role, with the goal of reducing dependence on the leader.
Teamwork is a biblical idea. God exists as a trinity working together in a team consisting of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Second Corinthians 6:1 speaks of us being ‘workers together with God.’
Read 2 Corinthians 6:1 and Ecclesiastes 4:12.
The primary benefit of a team is collaboration. As they learn to support and trust one another, they will share more freely and communicate more clearly. This enables a more efficient use of resources, talents and strengths. Decisions made by consensus among team members are usually better than those made by one individual, no matter how intelligent or gifted that person is.
The best teams bring together people with many different talents and perspectives. These differences could easily cause friction and disagreement, but in an effective team, they create synergy. A key to this synergy is dialogue. Dialogue is different from discussion. In a discussion, an individual presents her perspective on a problem or issue, with the objective of persuading the others in the group to adopt that position. Discussion, by this definition, can often cause group members to protect their turf, and results in defensiveness. In dialogue, each individual offers her perspective or assumptions, trusting that she will be listened to, and that her contribution will be added to the criteria by which the team makes decisions.
The team leader has two primary roles: 1) building trust and inspiring teamwork, and 2) enabling and empowering group members to accomplish their work. The transformational leader must be committed to listening to the people on her team. In doing so, she will help them think more clearly, work through unresolved issues, and discover the solutions they already know but are having difficulty verbalizing.
In order to provide ministry in today’s changing world, the role of leadership must broaden. The apostle Paul saw himself as a servant of Christ and a steward of not only material possessions, but also of the people God had put under his influence. His goal was not to fill positions in the church, but to allow the giftedness of a person to make a place for him. We are called to do no less. As leaders, we will be held accountable for wasted potential.
One of the most important responsibilities of the leader is to create a community of commitment. Such a community enjoys shared vision and purpose. To build this type of community in today’s world, a place must be made for collaboration between women in our ministries. In this network of commitment, communication and mutual support, people develop deep, intimate, life-changing relationships with each other and God as together they make a difference in the church and their world.
How can the resources, talents and strengths of your leadership team be better utilized?
What changes would you need to make in your own leadership style to encourage your team to ministry to women?
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV®. COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984 BY INTERNATIONAL BIBLE SOCIETY®.
“Transformational Leadership” is published by the National Women’s Department at women.ag.org, 2020. Permission granted for personal use or within a teaching setting. Do not reproduce.