Redeemer University - Christian university changes everything. Starting with you.          
Skip Navigation Links
Seeking God?

Visit this room to gather, learn and share with the Body of Christ

Effective leadership teams almost always have a degree of creative tension. That creative tension helps propel a well-matched team forward.

The effective team is comprised of leaders that represent four different leadership aptitudes as stated in The Power of Team Leadership, by George Barna.

Many groups make the mistake of teaming leaders who have the same aptitudes …

Directing Leaders: They excel at conveying a compelling vision but do not invest their energy in the details of the process. They are good decision-makers. They are the ones that rally the troops and sell the vision. Their interest is in making things happen—now!

Strategic Leaders: They love the intellectual challenge of understanding and planning. They evaluate the options and develop detailed plans of action. They convert the vision into action. They are usually happier working with ideas than with people.

Team-Building Leaders: They love people. They leave everyone feeling good about themselves, their team, and their potential to produce something significant. They often hate paperwork and tend to ignore the detail of well planned strategies, action plans, and operational budgets etc.

Operational Leaders: They provide a degree of stability, and consistency to the activity. They focus upon the operations of the ministry or business, but they do this as leaders (emphasizing new opportunities and solutions that result in breakthrough), not managers maintaining and improving what already exists. They devise systems that make things run smoothly.

Many groups make the mistake of teaming leaders who have the same aptitudes rather than complementary aptitudes. Effective leadership teams almost always have a degree of creative tension. That creative tension helps propel a well-matched team forward.

Building your team

"Team Building is the process of unifying a group of people with a common objective into an effectively functional team," says Dr. Justin Dennison in his book, Team Ministry: A Blueprint for Christian Ministry. He goes on to say that the following areas need to be addressed in the team-building process: a healthy balance between those who are task-oriented and those relationship-oriented; recognition of who each member is, their personalities, their strengths and their weaknesses; a willingness to face the necessary process to become a team; the acceptance of roles and team responsibilities; the ability to resolve differences that will inevitably occur.

This sounds like a simple definition, yet it is a process that is difficult. An effective team learns to resolve differences, work towards a shared common vision and purpose, all the while making sure that t he skills and gifts of all team-members are utilized.

Scripture gives us a number of leaders who built successful teams. The teams varied in purpose and size. Moses, Aaron and Miriam come to mind as a team who led the children of Israel. We think of Esther and Mordecai, who together saved an entire nation. The apostles would often minister in pairs.

Jesus selected members for his team of disciples who had different strengths/skills, characters and personalities. His team included people like Matthew and Peter (a tax collector and a fisherman respectively—white collar and blue collar). Bob Briner and Ray Pritchard, in their book, The Leadership Lessons of Jesus, put it this way: "Jesus saw something in these men and was not afraid to choose them both for the same team. Only a great leader would risk that; only an extraordinary leader could pull it off."

Jesus did not simply pick friends and co-workers he knew well and who knew each other. He looked beyond their current roles and lack of skills to their potential—p otential that he as their leader would groom and mentor for his purposes.

  • He taught them through everyday events and circumstances.

  • He asked questions to seek understanding and to teach.

  • He showed by example that he cared about them and about others.

  • He helped them to understand their potential.

  • He prayed for them.

Building a team is a journey, not a destination. A good leader chooses his or her team carefully and then mentors and teaches each member in order to draw out their God-given potential to work together towards a shared vision and common purpose.

Sharon Davis-Payton is a group benefit consultant with Aon Consulting in Toronto. She can be reached at

Originally published in LeaderLINK for Women Newsletter, July/August 2003, by the former EFC partnership Canadian Women in Ministry Leadership.




  • Redeemer University - Christian university changes everything. Starting with you.

Visit our Marketplace

Support the EFC ministry by using our Amazon links