I’m always happy when I get a book in the mail. Packages are the best.

Last week I received a copy of Teams That Thrive from InterVarsity Press. Talk about perfect timing: This book was airdropped into my world just as our team here is beginning a conversation about how we work together and share leadership. I’m excited to jump-in this week. What disciplines and best practices help your team lead forward?

Below is an interview from the IVP media team.


Five Disciplines That Help Church Leadership Teams Thrive

What makes Teams That Thrive a unique book for church leaders?
Warren Bird and Ryan T. Hartwig: Though nearly every church says they’re led by a team, many of these “teams” aren’t teams at all, much less effective ones. Despite good intentions, many don’t know what it takes to develop a thriving top team. Teams That Thrive shows leaders step by step how to thrive in their teams, especially at the senior leadership team level. As the subtitle—Five Disciplines of Collaborative Church Leadership—hints, this timely guide gives church leaders both what they want—practical, straightforward, compelling guidance with real-life examples of successful teams—and what they need—substantial, challenging insights and a fresh model grounded in the latest research on church leadership teams.

Why did you decide to write a book like this together?
Warren and Ryan: We wrote this book to help the teams at each reader’s church genuinely thrive, especially the senior leadership team. From all our research, we’re convinced that the best teams are distinguished in two ways. First, teams that thrive believe that collaborative leadership is practically and biblically the right way to lead. Despite the challenges that teams naturally face, these teams are committed to make collaboration work at the executive leadership level. Second, teams that thrive discipline themselves to practice the fundamentals that make a great team, day in and day out. Teamwork can be hard, for sure, but the great teams work hard to become great at it. Because they’re convinced it’s worthwhile to lead collaboratively, they do what it takes to become extraordinary.

What do you hope readers take away from Teams That Thrive?
Warren and Ryan: You can have a healthy, thriving leadership team. It’s both biblical and
doable. To develop a team that thrives, you will need to practice these five disciplines:

Discipline #1: Focus on Purpose, the Invisible Leader of Your Team
Great leadership teams realize that purpose drives every decision and every action of the team. Purpose is, in essence, the invisible leader of the team. As you clearly articulate your team’s 5C purpose (clear, compelling, challenging, calling oriented, consistently held), remember that the best teams make critical, church-wide decisions both regularly and continually.

Discipline #2: Leverage Differences in Team Membership
Thriving teams know that differences make a difference. That is, they intentionally pursue diversity in personality, background, and perspective as they strategically identify who should be on the team. Once together, those diverse members focus on what’s best for the church while making their work on the leadership team a priority.

Discipline #3: Rely on Inspiration More Than Control to Lead
Leaders of outstanding teams rely more on relationship-based inspirational leadership than role-based directive leadership. They build trust, cultivate positive working relationships, and share leadership functions with others as they pursue the team’s meaningful purpose.

Discipline #4: Intentionally Structure Your Decision-making Process
When it comes to making decisions, thriving leadership teams take advantage of divine inspiration and collaborative interaction. Specifically, they utilize a process that may even cultivate healthy conflict as they simultaneously seek God for his perspective and leading.

Discipline #5: Build a Culture of Continuous Collaboration
Effective leaders make the most of their meetings. They meet with intentionality, collaboratively develop meeting agendas and find ways to work together continuously.

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