Reorganization: Building a Complementary Team With Pastor Dave Bruskas

As we consider our churches reopening, there’s a unique opportunity to practically reorganize job descriptions and refocus on what God has called us to do. I spoke with Pastor Dave Bruskas of The Village Church on simple, applicable ways to reorganize our teams as we prepare to regather.

We turn again to 1 Timothy for biblical inspiration on surrounding ourselves with a complementary team. While many of Paul and Timothy’s circumstances were different than what we’re facing, the elements of church presented in the Bible is still a solid ground for thinking about how we can structure our ministries to reflect those values.

1 Timothy 4:11-16 (ESV)

‘Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.’

In chapter 4, Paul delivers practical advice to Timothy and encourages him to lead by being an example. Paul also reassures Timothy of his ability to succeed in his role by reminding him of the gifts that God has given him.

Paul encourages Timothy to stay in the realm that has been given to him by immersing himself in his specialized gifts. There’s an opportunity that leaders have right now while they wait to return to their regular ministry programming. Take the chance to think about  the gifts Gods given you and exercise them in new ways.

5 Ways to Build a Complementary Team

  1. Start with someone who is already operating in their gifts and talents. Once you’re able to appoint a leader who is already using their God-given gifts, you’ll have a strong example for a team to follow. Teams need the foundation of a secure leader who is confident in God’s direction for them.
  2. Consider the strengths and weaknesses of your team. Once you’re able to recognize growth areas and areas of expertise, you’ll be able to add team members who complement the weaknesses and strengthen the team.
  3. Recognize the spiritual gifts on your team. Spiritual gifts are an important aspect of teams. Ensure the spiritual gifts on your team are aligned in the most effective way possible. Create bonds between people who could benefit from learning from one another to develop each person through example and community. This balance of personality and thought is extremely important for a well-balanced team.
  4. Be willing to delegate responsibilities. In order to reorganize your team, you must have a clear understanding of who you are and the purpose God has designed for you. Then, you can humbly delegate authority to those who have strengths in other areas in order to be a comprehensively effective team.
  5. Examine the culture of your team to determine if you can have a healthy dialogue about areas of improvement. When you approach reorganization with your team, it’s helpful to discuss your strengths and weaknesses from a leader’s perspective. This is also a great time to allow your team members to contribute their thoughts. Honest conversations take psychological safety. People are less likely to share honest feedback regarding their leader and peers if they are full of fear. If you experience a lack of trust on your team, it’s important to start there and work your way to honest feedback.
  6. Cultivate a culture and environment that welcomes the tough conversations. Leaders can set the tone of their team by communicating that they’re not perfect leaders. You can also express your need for help from those around you. The more human a leader comes across, the more trust a team will have.

Elements of Evaluating Yourself and Your Team

  • Take inventory of your areas of weakness and strengths as a leader. When you’re able to go to your team members who have a strength in an area you don’t have as a leader, it builds trust amongst your team members.
  • Acknowledge the different ministry burdens on your team.  One person may have a different capacity for specific ministries than others. Pay attention to people’s natural skills and interests to effectively delegate tasks.
  • Consider the personalities on your team. In scripture, God has described the Christian body to work together beautifully and on one accord. You’ll find that your team members will be full of joy and fulfillment when they’re able to do what God has called them to do.

How to Lovingly Communicate Things That Bring About Change

  • Pray before you have a conversation with your leader about things you desire to see changed. This will help you be led by wisdom and discernment from Christ.
  • Trust takes time to develop. So, once you’ve developed trust with your leader, you can more easily find the right time to bring a challenging topic to them.
  • Begin your conversation with prayer and express your love for that person and the church. Also, take time to communicate that you have the same vision and values that they do. Starting with commonalities shows you’re not trying to oppose them.
  • Then you can articulate the changes you are interested in seeing. Always approach this from a standpoint of love, respect, and honor. Display how this change will benefit the entire team to show that your interest is deeper than yourself.
  • Make it a point to highlight ways you can implement changes with your leader so you both can do better together. Sharing your own desire for improvement shows you’re a team player.

While conversations of change are never easy, God designed us differently and desires that we work together through change to bring us closer to himself. See every tough conversation as an  opportunity for God to shape your character and develop your faith and dependance on him.

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Sutton Turner is the chief operating officer of Vanderbloemen, which serves teams with a greater purpose by aligning their people solutions for growth: hiring, compensation, succession and culture. Through its retained executive search and consulting services, Vanderbloemen serves churches, schools, nonprofits, family offices, and Christian businesses in all parts of the United States and internationally.

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Reorganization: Building a Complementary Team With Pastor Dave Bruskas