Teams are comprised of positional specialists. These people have been recruited by personal ability and expected contribution. But they aren’t a solid team until their individual strengths combine to produce an outcome, which no single member alone could have produced (that is: “synergy”). High performance teams are tough to build. So we look to the Master-Teacher for a demonstration of how to recruit and mold a world-class team.
In Mark 2:14-17 we find key ingredients how to recruit and mold a world-class team. Jesus formed the most important team ever assembled, and it was developed with a specific purpose: to continue His work on earth (Acts 1:8-9). Luke recorded the continuing story of the apostles in the book of Acts. The church they led, started in Jerusalem and multiplied and can be found around the world. This church is still multiplying since more than two thousand years ago.
A seemingly insignificant event is recounted in Mark 2:14-17, the calling of Matthew. Jesus demonstrated important principles of team building in this passage:
- Jesus recruited “odd” players for His team: He began with a group of Galileans, working men, mostly fishermen, all with strong Jewish backgrounds; Then he inexplicably added Matthew, a tax collector and hated publican; Jesus also recruited Simon the Zealot, who was at the opposite end of the political spectrum from Matthew.
- Teams normally require specialists. Specialists often differ in personality and views. The challenge of the leader of the team is to mold these opposites together.
- Jesus recruited specific people for specific reasons. Teams are made up of players. Players have positions. They are expected to give something they excel in, and do ideally better than anyone else on the team.
- Jesus taught this team of people to understand, appreciate, and love each other.
- Jesus molded his team into a tightly knit unit. He allows everyone’s gifts to be tolerated by the team players and used for a greater purpose than just the team.
- Team members combine their strengths to help one another to grow and to change the world.
- Jesus carefully recruited each of his team on the basis of their individual strengths.
- He recruited people who would give to the other members of the team and to the team’s overall goals.
Diversified teams may be tougher to lead, but then training lions is more exciting than feeding goldfish! It takes courage to “train lions.” Are you up for the challenge to build world-class teams like Jesus did?