Team building is typically seen as a set of activities, games, or scenarios where a group of people collaborate to accomplish a common goal. The activities are designed to help establish roles and cohesion in the group, ultimately producing successful teams who have grown their communication skills. Not only are team building activities for kids, but they’re also for teens and adults – and beyond the traditional approaches to team building, there are biblical guidelines that deepen growth possibilities by directing the team building activity itself as well as the constructive conversations that follow.

Christian Leadership and Team Building

Team building is something any group of people that work together for a common goal can benefit and learn from. In a non-stressful setting, all team members work together and learn about efficient communication, team management, and leadership while having fun playing games. During the activities participants are exposed first-hand to different team dynamics as well as how complex and frustrating collaboration between leadership and other team members can be. This is no different within the church where there are always teams of people working together to accomplish ministry goals. Team building activities are designed to improve communication in these team settings and can be a great proving ground for people to practice the skills that help teams work more efficiently.

team building trust circle at christian youth camp

Fortunately, these techniques for improving team unity are not limited to corporate team building settings only. The skills gained through intentionally learning how to function together in a team are very transferable to our daily lives. Beyond the corporate realm, there are also some great biblical principles for us to follow when entering a team building environment. Turns out that they are just as applicable to our normal lives as well. At Rock-N-Water we approach team building with an aim to incorporate these values we see God lay out for us to follow.

So what are these Biblical principles?

First, let us take a look at what the Bible has to say about leadership. This is but a brief sampling of verses, and not an in depth study, though a true study of biblical leadership would certainly be enlightening. 1 Timothy 3:2 is often referenced for saying that leadership (or “overseers”) are to be above reproach. Titus elaborates on this as well:

“For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” (Titus 1:7-9)

This lays out a pretty solid standard for leadership to be held to. I would say this verse gives us some obvious good traits, but they aren’t as specifically applicable to team building. These next verses are also some criteria for spiritual leadership in a church, so let’s take a look at the specific principles they give us to being under authority:

Hebrews 13:17 – Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Titus 3:1 – Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,

1 Peter 5:5 – Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Youth pastors work together in a team building activity

It is clear from these verses that we are called to honor and follow leadership. None of these things are revolutionary, (or maybe they are to some), but it is good to be reminded that there is a biblical basis for how we relate to leadership in our lives. Still, the Bible IS revolutionary. So are there any such verses that can be applied to team building? I’m glad you asked:

Mark 10:42-45 – And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Okay, so now things are getting interesting. The first must be slave of all? I really appreciate David Guzik’s commentary on this passage because he addresses how Jesus’ words here apply to leadership. Guzik writes:

Those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them: Their desire for position and status showed they didn’t know the nature of Jesus yet, in respect to leadership and power. Those who exercise power or authority in the church today as “lording it over” others still don’t understand the Jesus style of leadership and life.

When speaking about being a servant, Guzik rightly speaks about the important qualities of leadership within the church:

 Whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant: In the Kingdom community, status, money, and popularity are not the prerequisites for leadership. Humble service is the greatest (and only) prerequisite, as displayed by Jesus’ own ministry.

Lastly, on Jesus as an example of this type of leadership, Guzik asserts the following:

Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve: Real ministry is done for the benefit of those ministered to, not for the benefit of the minister. Many people are in the ministry for what they can receive (either materially or emotionally) from their people instead of for what they can give.

That is a lot to glean about leadership from three verses. Here’s just two more verses that tie into this same idea for your consideration:

Ephesians 4:15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ

Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Okay, so now, let’s think about how all those ideas support each other. Mark tells us of Christ’s role as a servant, and David Guzik directly references having other’s best interests in mind, rather than self interests. Philippians 2:4 says just that! And after hearing from Jesus in the book of Mark, Ephesians reminds us that we are to grow up in every way to become like Christ. So… we are, as leaders, called to serve, not to use our leadership for personal gain, but to benefit others, as this is the model set for us by Christ. Humble service is the mark of leadership, not worldly power, influence, or money.

team building challenge with ropes and bucket at camp

What does Rock-N-Water do?

At Rock-N-Water we see leadership positions as opportunities to serve and foster growth within communities. As facilitators, we are often learning just as much as those we are leading as we aim to incorporate these principles in our team building activities. I don’t want to spoil the fun, but know that we have a vision for our program to foster spiritual growth, both individually and as a team when you come to our camp. If you want to learn about the games we play and our team building program, give us a call!

By Wade Bieber, Adventure Guide