I’m pretty sure only moms of 3 or 4 years olds are now singing the theme song to Wonder-pets, the cartoon where 3 pets that are…” not too big and they’re not too tough but when they work together they have the right stuff ” . Their task is to rescue other animals that are in trouble. Silly cartoon illustration but a very practical lesson.“Alone we can do so little: together we can do so much” – Helen Keller “two are better then one” -Ecc 4:9-12
Iron sharpens iron – Proverbs 27:17
Sounds simple right? Then why is it such a struggle and such a hard thing to accomplish especially in the ministry, especially on the mission field? Why do so many teams split, why is it a constant battle, especially for the ladies, to work together in harmony? It seems to be the case more often then not.
Mark and I have worked in 3 different ministries. I have to say I have been so blessed to be a part of the greatest teams on the planet. My teammates have been and are AWESOME. I take no credit for it. I have just been blessed to work with some of the best women ever. I have learned so much from working with them and would just like to share it with you.
1. Esteem your teammate higher then yourselfLet nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Phil 2:3
This is key in every relationship we have. If we stop thinking of ourselves as number 1 and we put our teammates feelings above our-self we would eliminate many problems. Instead of thinking of ways they are not contributing to the team think of ways you can lift them up, compliment them, help them, keep their kids without expecting them to make it up to you, pay for dinner, give more, ask for less. You can always have a team if you are willing to be the one to follow and serve. Encourage them don’t discourage them. Criticism and judgement when a person is feeling weak is the last thing needed from a teammate. Don’t speak negatively about your teammate or their family to other people. One of my biggest cheerleaders in learning Xhosa has been someone who could actually be critical, she has already learned the language very well, but instead my teammate only encourages me and motivates me that it can be done.
2. Love their family
Your teammates should not just be another person in your life, but they should become family (ok so this may not be entirely fair since my current teammates ARE indeed family but..). When working in Peru, we had many teammates . To this day, my kids have “aunts and uncles” all over the world. Love their kids, remember their birthdays, celebrate holidays together. My favorite holiday ever, was Thanksgiving 10 years ago, in Peru, when my water broke at Thanksgiving dinner in front of a house full of teammates. As for their husband, obviously no love needs to be shown, but always speak with respect when talking about your teammate’s husband, don’t make fun of him or put him down.
3. Learn from them
Obviously a veteran is going to have much to teach a rookie. But as well, a veteran can always learn things. Don’t be offended if the new comer found a great store you didn’t’ know about, or has a idea on how to organize a nursery. It really is the beauty of teamwork, learning from other peoples expertise and mistakes. When moving to Peru, I had the wonderful privilege of serving on a team with a veteran of 20 years. I learned so much from her, yet she never came to me and said: “Amy, you need to be mentored from me, I know more then you”. She simply influenced me with great job she did on her mission field. I wanted to learn from her and be around her, yet there was never ranking placed on teammates by her, it has been such a valuable lesson to me as the years have passed.
4. Don’t make comparisons
Everyone is different. Some are home bodies, while others hate being at home. Some love to teach, while others hate it. Some are outspoken while others are more to themselves. Don’t compare your teammates to others, don’t compare your teammates to yourself. They don’t need you to mother them, or correct their errors. Accept who they are, accept their strengths without jealously and their weaknesses without criticism. Love them unconditionally.
5. Remember the taskPhilippians 2:2 Fulfill you my joy, that you be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind
We are on the same team. We may have different methods, different abilities but we have the same love and same goal: Making much of Jesus.
Several years ago, a missionary wife was so burnt out with a teammate situation that she teased her husband to never recruit to their city, it just wasn’t worth it. I thought it was strange then but now, I think it’s sad. Just this past month we have hosted back to back groups, we LOVE groups, but it is a lot of work. I was so thankful to have 2 other amazing women to split the jobs with me. Not only that, but 2 months ago, I learned that my granddad had died, while my husband was out of the country. I was very broken hearted and alone but with in minutes my house was full of my teammates comforting me, helping me buy tickets, pack and love on my children. Teamwork for me has been priceless!