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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

17 Jul '13

Best friends or colleagues

Posted by T.J. Addington in leaders, leadership, social distance
A good friend of mine whom I hired a decade ago to serve as the director of a ministry I had started confided to me his excitement when he came to our organization that "we would do life together." The reality was that as he gave more of his time to this ministry, I gave less of my time to it and ultimately handed it over completely. While he is satisfied with his role and has built his own team, he was initially disappointed that 'we' did not remain 'we' as the ministry grew.

All of us have social and emotional needs that need to be met. The deepest of these will be met with family and friends. Some may be met by those we serve with but it is not a given. Our role on a team is a 'functional' one designed to achieve a specific mission. We may or may not be with our team long term.


The team may change. Our responsibilities may change. Teams are not designed to meet our primary social and emotional needs and if we try to make them do so we will be disappointed when our needs are not met or when roles change.


When individuals see team as primarily about friendship it makes it difficult for them to be honest with co-workers about issues that need to be addressed. We don't want candor to interfere with friendship.


I love working with the senior team I am on which was forged years ago. We have been through incredible times together, endured many great highs and more than a few low lows. We know each other exceedingly well, protect each other, love to be with each other and are committed to one another. We have seen one another through individual challenges, have prayed for family situations, and have sharpened each other to become better people and leaders. I cannot imagine a better team.


But: each of us understands that we are ultimately together because of the mission we serve of "Glorifying God by multiplying transformational churches among all people." Each of us has our own set of friends outside of work that meet our personal, social and emotional needs. Seldom do we socialize outside of work. We are deeply fortunate to work with people we love, respect, know, trust and value. However, we understand that our team is not built on our emotional or social needs but on the mission that we serve together. This is a critical distinction of a healthy team.