Dave was a talented and charismatic who had seen his church expand to over 1,000 members in four short years. We met to brainstorm ideas on missional ministry and changing lives. But after a brief discipling discussion he stunned us by saying, “People don’t want to grow. I’ve invested all I have with minimal life change. I am done.”
He felt alone with no answers and no hope.
Avoiding burn requires collaborative teamwork and creative problem solving. But what does that look like?
Perhaps to understand the essence of team building and creative thinking ministry teams should spend time in the presence of improvisational jazz artists. This is the suggestion from Dr. Berenice Bleedorn, founder of the Institute for Creative Studies.
Dr. Bleedorn has observed that after establishing the melody, each jazz trio member takes a solo that improvises and elaborates the melody while the other members play quiet support. Their quiet, intuitive teamwork is a model for the unity of differences.
Could organizations, and yes ministry, really learn something from a jazz trio?
Dr. Bleedorn discovered these team dynamics at the heart of great jazz…and I believe at the heart of great ministry teams as well:
- Listen carefully to everyone else. Be supportive.
- Be sensitive to the moods of others.
- Balance the leadership and followership. Give everyone a chance to “solo.”
- Trust your intuitions.
- Risk expressing your ideas, even when you’re not sure of them.
- Be “playful.” Lighten up and think smart simultaneously.
- Be open to new, experimental patterns and directions outside of the “square.”
- Mutual love and respect help get the job done.
It all sounds like 1 Corinthians 12 & 13 doesn’t it?