Synergy: Embracing the Team Approach to Service Planning


I have two sons who are 3 years apart.

The oldest one is 5 years old now and for the past 3 years has, for the most part, largely ignored the presence of the younger one, which is understandable as younger siblings can tend to be a bit annoying. This being the case, my wife and I were shocked to find them beginning to play with each other a few weeks ago. They were racing trucks on the hardwood floor and coloring at the dining room table. It seemed that they were starting to see that it is more fun to play together than alone. One day we couldn’t find either boy anywhere in the house. We walked around calling their names but to no avail. As we rounded the corner into the kitchen we heard them giggling in the pantry. When we opened the door we found both boys playing together, which is good, but found our pantry looking like a warzone, which is bad. Boxes of spaghetti were dumped on the floor like a game of pickup sticks, a bag of marshmallows had been emptied and squashed into the tile like small white, sticky pancakes. Cans were stacked 4 feet high, bags of flour were poured out, cereal was no longer constrained by plastic and cardboard but was freely being crunched with each step. Needless to say it was a mess of epic proportion. The boys, however, thought it was wonderful.

My sons had discovered that they could accomplish more together than on their own, they had discovered synergy. Synergy is the cooperation of two or more entities that result in a greater outcome than could have be produced on their own. One boy can make a small mess, but two boys can condemn a home.

I have found that in the church, a place where the team approach should be readily excepted, there is an incredible lack of synergy. Too often the pastor prepares all week long on his sermon in his office while the music minister or worship team or pianist or organist or worship leader plan their portion of the service within their offices without taking the time to work together as a team for a synchronized outcome. I contend that the Church is the one who suffers when leadership does not work together. I believe there are at least four strong reasons why church staff and volunteers should embrace the team approach to service planning.

1. The team approach can increase creativity.

They say great minds think alike, but I think greater minds think different. When crafting a service that will be meaningful and life changing for a congregation that all come from different backgrounds and experiences, it is important to not limit your deliver by having it originate from one source. The way I engage scripture and worship God is undoubtedly different from the person next to me. By opening up the creative process to multiple personalities, view points and backgrounds you vastly increase your ability to reach your target audience. Where I may have a good idea that will get the job done, my team may take that good idea and make it a great idea that is life-changing.

A high priority for any worship experience is for the service to be true to the Word of God. @trevoralvin Click To Tweet

2. The team approach can encourage accurate interpretation.

A high priority for any worship experience is for the service to be true to the Word of God. What I mean is, that the service, from beginning to end, would derive from an accurate interpretation of scripture. Each time we teach God’s Word we are unpacking timeless truths that were given to a certain culture and certain community by making it applicable to our culture and community. Without careful consideration we can easily twist scripture to fit our needs or manipulate a passage to fit our message. By embracing a team approach we have built-in accountability as we wrestle with the Bible each week.

3. The team approach can create an environment of excitement and expectation.

Excitement is contagious. For it to spread it is always better to have multiple people infected rather than one. By embracing the team approach to service planning there is the opportunity for multiple people to come into a weekend with buy-in as they believe that God is going to move in a powerful way. The ultimate goal is for each participant on the team to see that when the team wins, they win. So helping a good teacher become a great teacher is the team’s job. Helping a good worship leader become a great worship leader is the team’s job. The more success the team has and the more the team sees God utilize their combined efforts, the more excitement will grow and the more expectation will grow. Once the team catches it, the congregation will soon follow.

The ultimate goal is for each participant on the team to see that when the team wins, they win. @trevoralvin Click To Tweet

4. The approach can share the burden of failure.

Some weekends are bound to miss the mark. There will be times where there is a mistake in the execution of a service. Without a team approach it is really easy to single out a culprit and blame them for the missteps and miscues. Through a team approach, any area for improvement does not have to be shouldered by one individual. The group can own it. Knowing that the outcome of a service does not rely completely on one person allows everyone to serve wholeheartedly believing that whether the team succeeds or failures they will face it as a collective whole and move forward.

Synergy is born out of intentional effort. @trevoralvin Click To Tweet

Synergy is born out of intentional effort. It takes hard work to begin to plan and perform as a team. But, if we allow ourselves to identify others that we can partner with we will see far greater outcomes than we could ever see on our own

About the Author_02

Author Photo - Trevor Miller

Director of Worship Production
Mt. Horeb United Methodist Church | Lexington, SC

Trevor Miller is a graduate of Columbia International University where he earned his degrees in youth ministry, outdoor leadership and Bible. He has a background working in student ministry and currently serves as the Director of Worship Production for Mt. Horeb United Methodist Church in Lexington, SC. Trevor has a passion for creatively communicating the transforming power of the gospel. He and his wife, Jenna, currently reside in Lexington with their 2 boys, Eli and Owen.

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