Building an effective team, whether it be for a specific goal or project, or for a lengthier purpose, like a marriage or family, takes effort. You “build” an effective team, you don’t just “form” or label one. It takes passion, time and commitment. Good communication skills certainly help. Leaders inspire and managers provide the resources. Oftentimes in small teams you must be both leader and manager. What sets apart an effective team from an ineffective one? Jesus and his disciples are obviously examples of a highly effective team. What sets them apart? I hear your thinking… “I’d follow God in the flesh to do anything!” But not everyone did, and he was not the only prophet in Israel. But he did have a very committed group of twelve, didn’t he? The leader must have a clear vision, a passion. He/she must spend time with the team clearly and regularly conveying the message of the team’s goals and objectives. That is where most leaders/team builders fail. They fail to invest time in grooming and communicating clearly with their team. They are fuzzy and ambiguous in communicating their goals. You must have a laser focus. Goals must support your overall mission and must be quantifiable. I.e., your goals must be measurable (numbers, dates, amounts, results desired) and realistic (outcomes which you can control) with a bit of a stretch (allow for the work of the Holy Spirit). Many leaders unfortunately are content with ambiguous, hazy goals, and the results, if any, show it. Write your goals down with specificities and share them with your team. Get your team’s buy-in. Give them an opportunity to ask questions and, if appropriate, participate in the goal setting. What was the goal of Christ? To fulfill the Law and the Prophets and to do the will of God. Was he clear and committed in his goal? History and eternity say yes. Perhaps this should have been mentioned earlier, but if you have a choice in the matter, choose your team members wisely. And once they are chosen, give them a degree of free reign to use their specific gifts and talents. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt if you can do a few miracles along the way. Water into wine anyone? And, finally, the team leader must also be the coach and best cheerleader for the team. An encourager. Just as Christ was in the darkest hours and in the stormiest waters.