For the past several weeks, I’ve been exploring the importance and nature of successful intergenerational teams. We’ve considered what it means to be entrusted with our people, a mentoring model we can incorporate, God’s design for intergenerational ministry, and the characteristics of a belonging culture.
Now I want to look at one of the qualities of a thriving intergenerational ministry or leadership team: it must be life-giving.
So, here’s a question: what sucks the life out of you?
What is not life-giving? Take a minute and list some things that come to mind. Actually, write them down. One thing that sucks the life out of me is complainers. I don’t mean people who raise a concern. I mean perpetual whiners. What is it for you?
Conversely, can you think of some team members who bring life to your group? Who speak life? How do your teammates contribute to a life-giving community? What about you? Do you add life?
A perpetually renewing team must be life-giving. Those who work and serve on these teams literally come alive. They look forward to working together.
In almost every ministry I’ve worked with, I can easily think of someone who is so enthusiastic about the vision and mission that it’s contagious. When they bring that kind of life and zeal, the mission comes alive. The ministry and the work comes alive. We want to work with people who bring life to us – and we want to bring life to them.
Do you have team members who appear lifeless? There could be so many reasons for this. In fact, it may have nothing to do with your team at all – there could be something going on in their life unrelated to your mission or ministry. It’s worth asking your team, however, what things related to your mission suck the life out of them.
Ok, yes. We all need to acknowledge that we can’t just avoid doing everything that’s hard or draining. But the majority of our work needs to be life-giving and not life-sucking.
I’ll tell you right now: what your Boomer Generation team members find life-giving will not be the same as what your Gen Z and Millenials find life-giving. Asking questions to determine what each member finds life-giving and life-sucking will go a long way toward empowering you to speak life over everyone. Even if they each view their work life very differently.
In a life-giving community, people are flourishing. The definition of flourishing that I love is to grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as a result of a particularly favorable environment.
I’ve written a whole other blog series about flourishing, but I want to share a story with you of someone I met who so clearly came from a flourishing, life-giving community.
A few years ago, I traveled to a beautiful lookout over the Appalachian Mountains. As I was enjoying the view, I struck up a conversation with a woman who was also taking in the scenery there. She shared with me that she is a chef at a Christian retreat center. As we admired the landscape together, she simply gushed about what an amazing place she got to work. She talked about their mission, how people’s lives were touched there, and how much she loves going to work and serving people.
As I listened to this stranger, I thought: What if everyone on our ministry teams talked about our organizations like that? What if they ran into complete strangers and couldn’t wait to gush about how we serve our communities? What if everyone on our teams went on a beautiful vacation and was still so excited to return to work at the end of it?
Leave a comment about your own experience on a team. Is it life-sucking? Or life-giving?