27 November 2013

Picking Your Team

In all honesty, I am not a soccer fan. But in recent months I found myself having to give myself a crash course into the fundamentals of managing my own team!

One of the younger members of the office suggested that we should set up our own Fantasy Football League. Each of us could make up a team, form an office league and see how our squads perform. And, impressively, everyone else agreed. A bit of fun to brighten up the winter months...

So, how should I go about picking my team? As intimated earlier, my knowledge of The Beautiful Game is sketchy to say the least. Would I hastily try to digest pages and pages of info about the number of goals each player had scored? Pour over match stats? Pick a team totally at random?

Nope. In a moment of inspiration I picked a whole team of players whose surnames began with 'B'.

And with a mighty fanfare, The 'Banana Splits' made their Fantasy Football debut on Saturday 17th August.

Would my method of team selection be a viable one? We're just starting Week 13 and, out of a league of 10 my team is currently... er... 10th. Oh well...

However, this process has made me think deeper about the tricky task of allocating leadership positions within a small church. Unlike premier league teams with practically unlimited budgets, small fellowships like these attempt to build a great volunteer workforce from a restricted pool of people (namely, Christians who attend that church!). Similarly, in my footballing example, I restricted my choice only to players starting with one particular letter. Does that make my task of winning the league totally impossible? I like to think it wasn't.

In soccer, you need a good goalkeeper; reliable defenders; a versatile midfield line; assertive strikers to score goals. Each have their part to play. Without the right people in key positions in church, Sunday School classes are not taught, planning committees don't function, opportunities are missed. So how can small churches strive to get the right people in the right place?

The ideal candidates in either team should be purpose-driven, not reward-driven. They should not be trying to promote themselves but striving for something higher. This has to be something they are called to do. One writer I read recently said that such people "do not quit, and could not quit if they wanted to." I like that.

Team members should have integrity, not just an image to uphold. That's usually something that you only find out after months or even years of getting to know someone. More than just a good reputation; these people possess a character that speaks volumes about them. They should be committed, not just 'along for the ride'. Can they 'walk the walk'? Are they the genuine article?

Team members should also be compatible. There's no point in selecting a team of high-fliers if they can't work together. They need to fit. By way of example, let me tell you about Vince Lombardi, who was coach to the American Football team, the Green Bay Packers. A different kind of sport from soccer, but one requiring teamwork nonetheless. He once told his team, "In terms of skill and ability, every one of you is easily replaceable; there are plenty of players around with athletic talent to equal yours." He went on to explain that his team had something much more precious; an ability to complement each other. That's the way to turn diversity into unity. Can the team work together? Each team member helping each other to achieve their best so that they can reach their common goal.

Team members also need to be coachable. Just because you aren't doing exactly what you need to, doesn't mean you can't learn how. A good leader will choose individuals who might lack experience but will possess the other attributes - provided that they are willing and able to be trained, nurtured.

Hebrews 10:24-25 (CEV)
We should keep on encouraging each other to be thoughtful and to do helpful things. Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord’s coming is getting closer.

1 comment:

Colin Machan said...

During the 2013-2014 season, the Banana Splits team (consisting of players with surnames all starting with the letter 'B') was 10th out of a league of 10. :(

During the 2014-2015 season, the Banana Splits players all had surnames starting with the letter 'S' and the team was a creditable 3rd out of a league of 10. :)

The 2015-2016 season starts soon. My team has been picked. All with surnames beginning with 'C'. I'm hopeful...