“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.”
1 Corinthians 12:12-27
The word collaboration is often used and associated with Business teams/groups but very rarely used in relation to Church volunteer teams.
More often than not, volunteer teams work in a assembly line manner where everyone goes to his/her specific station to perform the assigned task and then goes home.
Although this model is workable, it does not always create the sense of bonded community that should exist amongst volunteers.
So, what does effective collaboration look like?
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
First, Teams should meet regularly before proceeding to assigned stations. These meetings can be short 10-30 minute meetings but it is important to meet.
During those meetings, teams should pray together. This is a good time to ask if anyone needs for the team to intercede for them or a loved one.
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
Second, team leads should solicit ideas from the team. Creativity and good ideas exist on each team; opening the floor for members to express them is a good way to show each member how much they matter to the success of the team. If an idea is detailed and requires more time to discuss, team leads can follow up with a zoom call later in the week or even a recap after the Service/Event has wrapped. Furthermore, team leads should encourage members to email any suggestions, thoughts or ideas during the course of the week. If those emails do come in, the leads should be sure to follow up on those.
“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Third, teams should listen to each other and be open minded to each other’s ideas and suggestions. Every idea may not be implemented but having an environment that encourages new ideas and uplifts all members is very important.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow”
Finally, team leads should demonstrate and encourage members to be selfless, flexible, and to work together, inter-changeably and cohesively as much as possible. Being territorial or working in silos is detrimental behavior for teams and must be avoided at all costs.
“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.”
Team leads can set the tone for how effectively the team functions in a collaborative atmosphere.
The best teams to be a part of are the ones that push each other with love and grace, pray for each other with all sincerity, and listen to each other with patience and open-mindedness.
The keys to effective collaboration are rooted in biblical concepts; therefore, the church should lead the way in demonstrating this to the world.
“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.”
1 Peter 3:8