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We hear about it in sports all the time: a player is labeled "locker-room cancer," or some other inspirational nickname. By the time it has come to the point of name calling and finger pointing we all know that the end of a team is near.

While we are often incredibly focused on finding out who is to blame for the failure of the team, how often do we look back at the team’s history to identify the behaviors that led to the team’s dysfunction?

How often do we look to see the seeds of failure that were sown in the past, and learn how to prevent team failure in teams to come?

Team building is an art, not a science. Over the last 15 years that I have spent building and equipping church leadership teams, I have learned more ways to kill one than I would like to admit.

A healthy team, a team that is clicking, a team that is running on all cylinders is something special and is capable of doing things that are hard to believe. While my hope is that every church in the country operates as a healthy, effective team, I realize that we are human and this is not always the case.

Here are five things that keep church leadership from being healthy. Left alone, they become team killers:

1. Over-functioning 

Are you, or is someone in church leadership doing too much and enabling others (including yourself) to slack off?

2. Mind Reading 

Do you, or does your team, make assumptions about other team members' thoughts, agendas, or motivations?

3. Lack of Listening

Can your team listen, I mean truly listen, to one another or are conversations merely a group of people talking at one another?

4. Mistrust

Do you believe your team has your best interest at heart?  Do you believe that they have your back?

5. Lack of Community

Does your team have a sense of community, or are you forced to work with one another?

Do you see the seeds of these team killers in your leadership team? While this list is in no way exhaustive, I believe it represents some of the biggest team killers that plague the church today. What am I missing? What do you think are the biggest team killers in the church?

Matt Steen has been a youth pastor, executive pastor, and church planter. He loves helping churches thrive through his work at Church Simple (churchsimple.net).

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Robert Sickler

commented on Apr 5, 2012

Good advice. I am of the opinion, however, that many churches are led by a clique or a gang.

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