Teams have a leader and a number of team members. In the same way Sunday School, Children's Church or Youth Group are all really a team effort. The success of a team is partially due to the effectivenss of the leader(s), but more importantly due to the activities, involvement and enthusiasm of the children.
In this way the children will not only have have great expectations of their leaders, they will also have expectations of other people in the group. If each child or young person is a great team member, this can aid the team process as much as a good team leader.
For the rest of this article, we will use "Team" as a collective term in place of Sunday School, Children's Church or Youth Group. Here are some of the elements that make children, young people and adults great team members, with a view of them also becoming great leaders:
Commitment to the Team:
The factors that make up a successful team leader include both commitment to the group and a desire to support and serve. Great team members are also servant minded by seeking to serve others before their own needs.
Some team members may be willing to take a back seat saying, "It's the leader's role to tell us what to do!" But, great team members will not only support the team leadership, but also have the freedom to make suggestions for improving the effectiveness of the team and coming up with new ideas for reaching the team's goals. For example, suggesting activities to generate enthusiasm and participation, or ways to grow the group etc.
Enthusiasm, Energy, Inspiration and Expertise:
Team members don't only want their leaders to inspire and motivate them. Leaders rejoice when they find a kid who just wants to get involved and who's enthusiasm knows no bounds!
It's good to have a team and leader structure which allows individual gifts to be used as this encourages everybody to make their contribution. This also allows kids to be willing to do tasks that others are unable or unwilling to do. For example allowing more advanced children to do tasks that might embarrass slower or shy children, such as reading a portion from the Bible or acting out a character.
Children need to be taught and encouraged to be fully committed to the success of the group and to be willing to carry out duties and responsibilities in the meetings.
Building a Team:
For small groups it is a good idea to allow the team to develop their Mission / Vision statements together with the leader(s). This is an excellent way of building team ownership and responsibility for achieving the group's goals. Another way is to let the team work together on a short term project. This may be completely unrelated to the team's main task, for example undertaking a sponsored walk together, or decorating the hall or building.
The process of working together on a task offers a chance for the team to talk to each other, and build relationships as well as achieving an objective. Outings, hikes or a camp away from home for a day, or even better with one or more overnight stays, are excellent ways to generate a good team spirit. Having fun at a social event is a great way of allowing kids to get to know and appreciate one another.
Don't forget to pray together for the success of the group and for each person. This is a powerful way of supporting one another. This can done as with the whole team, or by giving each person two or three other people to pray for (so each team member gets prayed for by two or three other people in the group).
Team Building Activities:
The Leader(s) and team members need to work out the tasks and roles needed to achieve the team's mission and to allocate activities and roles to individual team members. For example, marking people present, welcoming new people, taking the offering, playing in the music group etc, all develop commitment and participation. It's also a good idea to allow an open discussion to develop what each task needs to do, what kids will do independently and what tasks will be done together.
These suggestions are likely to require the team to invest in a reasonable amount of time to ensure that they are working effectively, and feel comfortable with one another. This is time well invested, and is likely to pay dividends later.
There are a number of good ten to twenty minute team building games and exercises in the next section and in our Bibleland "Games and Competitions" section. These can be carried out at the start of a team meeting.
Copyright © Sharon Children's Ministries