Team Code

NOTE: Article still has a few unfinished parts/links, (which will be corrected as our new website is completed), but the basic content is all there.

The Team Code: 7 Maxims that Guide Serve Team Culture
By Scott Wakefield, Lead Pastor


We think being part of a God-glorifying team is much more important to your spiritual growth than you may think!  Just follow the Scriptural logic from the very beginning of God's purposes in creation. Because...
  • God created and commanded us to do good/Godly work, (Genesis 1:26-28)1 and
  • God said it is "not good" (Genesis 2:18, 20) when people work alone, (because it results in sinfulness, lack of purpose, sideways energy, and relational and personal isolation, stagnation, and selfishness,)2
  • the church is the God-designed, Spirit-led, Christ-modeled, and Pastor/Elder-shepherded recapturing of God's good purposes by creating a people to work together for His glory.3

We need the body of Christ more than we think because working together instead of alone is more than just effective pooling of resources. It is about learning submission to ("coming under the mission of") God's purposes for your life by being submitted to God's purposes through His church.

That's why we so emphasize the importance of working together. In introducing Habit 2: Serve on the team., we say: "We believe that everyone needs to experience the missional synergy of serving on an effective team where peoples' gifts are meaningfully used and appreciated for their unique contribution." What we call "missional synergy" the Bible calls the properly-functioning church!

But, as the second point above makes clear ("not good" in Genesis 2:18), a good team doesn't just automagically happen Disney-style. In fact, the easy and natural drift is toward toxic team culture. Building a good team that reflects the perfect unity and purpose within the Triune Godhead4 requires Christlike self-sacrifice that embodies, creates, and protects fruitful team culture. So for us at FCC, the Team Code is a declaration of the maxims that guide our Serve on the team. culture.

(1) We enjoy the fellowship of mutual surrender to the mission. — We are together, as a team, in this surrender and sacrifice to the mission of Helping people find and follow Jesus! And we enjoy it! In fact, being "we-minded" is best way to learn to enjoy sacrifice (Romans 16:3-4; Philippians 3:19; Colossians 1:24-28; 2 Timothy 1:8; 2:3; James 1:2-3; 1 Peter 1:6-9; 4:1-2; 4:12-14, 4:19).
(2) We "praypare" as if souls are at stake, the Word does the work, excellence matters, and feedback helps. — We believe God’s initiative directs us, but instead of abusing the gift of undeserved grace as an excuse to be lazy or prideful, it compels us to work hard in 2 ways: by praying and preparing as if our work together matters because it is for His purposes and glory. That's how we ensure we are ready to take care of those God sends us! Notice in maxim #2 that "praypare" is broken down into 4 phrases. Praying means being ready by reminding yourself that "souls are at stake" (Ephesians 5:15-16; Colossians 4:2-6) and "the Word does the work" (Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 Peter 1:23-25): talking with God to have one's heart in the right place to serve, being thoughtful of the "why" of one's service, and asking God to use our efforts to achieve His goals. Preparing means being ready as if "excellence matters" (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25; Romans 12:1; Colossians 3:23-24; Titus 3:8) and "feedback helps" (Proverbs 27:17; Ecclesiastes 10:10) by practicing the 3 H's of Serve on the team.: Heartbeats, Huddles, and Homework.

(1) Heartbeats – At least read (5 mins max) and also respond when needed. This is where each Serve Team is administrated, announcements are made, serving positions are confirmed, and ongoing changes, discussion, and feedback happen.5 [Link to brief video explanation, eventually.]

(2) Huddles – Show up on time for "Huddles," where the team gathers for 5-10 mins before serving together to teach a smidge of vision, talk through assignments, make announcements, and pray. [Link to Huddle BPPs, eventually.]

(3) Homework – "What?! There's homework?!" Yeah, sort of. This is all the things necessary to be prepared to serve in practical terms: gathering materials/equipment, contacting others, being ready to teach the lesson, thinking through what needs to happen when, etc.

Quick Addendum re "6-Month Reviews" – As part of "feedback helps," and to help ensure your work is effective and fulfilling, Serve Team members submit feedback every January and July. The form only takes ~15 mins to fill out and is meant to trigger a conversation between Team Leaders and Members. Not only have these 6MRs prompted helpful Serve Team changes and tweaks, but  they help confirm what's going well and give us some good "wins" and stories! Check it out here!

(3) We value people over policies, principles over preferences, and growth over control. — We’re in the people business, over the long haul, for their spiritual growth, so we default to making decisions that value people (Genesis 1:26), principles (Proverbs 12:25; 28:26), and growth (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:5, 15; 1 Corinthians 3:7). This helps us do 3 important things. It keeps people at the center of our ministry motivations, ensuring that our policies do not unnecessarily impose upon them but shepherd and care for them. It means we force ourselves to think deeply and theologically about the reasons we do what we do, prioritizing the group's most important needs by applying time-honored principles over particular interests that may not adequately consider the whole. It means we hold loosely to methods, planning in pencil and ready to flex in order to maintain corporate growth as the goal and not personal control.
(4) We celebrate everyday boring faithful service. — We give high fives, say thank you, hand out awards, and work harder than seems appropriate to let people know they’re valuable in carrying out this mission! (And you will wanna make sure to make it to our yearly Team Bash! It's kind of a big deal.) Hey, btw, thank you for serving on the team! Your work, whatever it is, matters (1 Corinthians 12:12-27)!

(5) We have a growing-by-learning mindset, not a fixed one. — At the root of the word commonly translated "disciple" or "follower" in the New Testament, ("mathétés" in the Greek, pronounced math-AY-TAYS) is the idea of being a "learner" or "student."6 For the Christian, personal spiritual growth is about being a lifelong learner—a mathétés—of the way of Jesus. So in that vein, our mindset is "growing-by-learning," which means "we find a way", often by working harder than seems necessary to learn whatever needed in order to serve well, find solutions to problems, and move the mission forward.7

(6) We lead with vulnerability. — There are no superheroes and no fig leaves allowed here (Genesis 3:7-8). We do not hold up fake versions of ourselves, but we are real with each other, refusing to hide behind our fears by sharing openly. This helps create a culture of safety and care, facilitates deeper relationships, reinforces grace, improves feedback, increases unity, and ensures that everyone's role matters.

(7) We multiply influence by reproducing leaders. — At all levels of our organization, we are reproducing ourselves in the lives of others so our Kingdom influence multiplies. We want to be a long-term force for developing and deploying Christlike servant leaders who exude and embody the Team Code! So we think and work in Ephesians 4:12 ways that "equip the saints for the work of ministry," looking to teach others 

For more...
  • ... about how we organize Team positions across multiple campuses, see this blog post about our Leadership Pipeline. [On the way...]
  • ... about how we do Huddles, (in case you missed it above), see this blog post. [On the way...]
  • ... teaching on H2: Serve on the team., see this sermon, "H2: Serve on the team." (Ephesians 4:11-16).
_______________________________
1 Throughout Genesis 1, after each day of creation, God said that what He created was "good," (which is a synonym for "godly" here, as a reflection of God's goodness,) punctuated in Genesis 1:31 with "very good," because, key point here, His creation was doing what He created it to do. See Genesis 1:26-28 for God's first command to humanity to recreate God's work and reflect His goodness/Godliness and Genesis 2:5 for the "problem" of no one to work the ground. For more re "be fruitful and multiply," see especially the first sermon in the "Multiply" series.

2 Genesis 2:18, 20; Isaiah 64:6; Matthew 18:15-20; Mark 9:34; 10:35-37; Acts 6:1; 15:2; 16:4; 20:28-31; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 1:10-12; 3:3-4; 11:18-21; 2 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 2:3; Philippians 4:2; Colossians 2:18-19; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:17;  Jude 17-22

3 Psalm 100:3; 133:1; Jeremiah 31:31-34; John 17:21-23; Acts 1:8; 6:3-6; 1 Corinthians 10:31; 11:27-30; 12:12-27; 14:6; 14:12; 14:26; 14:33, 14:40; 2 Corinthians 13:10; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:10, 2:13-22; 4:1-16, 4:25-32; 5:21, 5:32; Philippians 1:27, 1:29; 2:1-5; Colossians 1:18, 1:24-29; 3:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 Timothy 5:20; Titus 3:10; 3 John 9-10.

4 See this sermon for a Biblical defense of the Trinity: "What is the Trinity and is it Biblical?"

5 Weekly Heartbeats are sent out for each team on Basecamp, which is simple, intuitive, and collaborative team/project-management software we use to administrate teams. Go here to download Basecamp and here to watch 3 brief intro videos we've made to get you started!

6 The most basic root of mathétés is from "manthano", which is more definitively about learning, per se.

7 This attitude of "harder than seems necessary" and "solutions to problems" isn't legalism or negativity, but is simply being realistic about the natural trajectory of a world broken by sin. Put another way, knowing what we Christians know about the effects of sin, why would expect anything to come easily?! Productive work is not only frustrating and time consuming, but often harder than we anticipate (Genesis 3:16-19; Ecclesiastes 2:20-23).
Posted in