When directing a cm that had a director before you – how to build team spirit

Your Question:

“I am directing a CM that has had a CM director before me.  How do I build team spirit in the current CM team?”

The Issues:

Inheriting an existing CM team might be a good thing that is full of challenges. If the previous CM director was a good builder of a team of satisfied team members, all you have to do is develop relationships with the current team and continue the fruitful support. If the previous director was not a good team-builder, you may inherit unhappy team members who are skeptical of you and may be ready to quit.

Scripture Foundation:

“And let us consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds. Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  Hebrews 10: 24, 25

Short Answer:

No matter the condition of the current CM team, it is vital that you do all you can to prevent any “early retirement” of team members!  You need time to effectively evaluate the CM team’s needs before you face replacing people or recruiting new team members. Focus on personally appreciating each current team member quickly.  This is easiest done before, during, or after a service. This doesn’t involve a long conversation, just short words of thanks or appreciation for their faithful service. If you notice something personal that each of them do, use that observation to compliment them.  Simple statements like, “The children sure love you! Thanks for you great smile and personal attention you give to each child!”  If a team member takes a child to the restroom, make sure to compliment him/her for being a kind support to the child. During check-in or check-out, compliment as many team members as you can for their kind support of the parents.  You may not have to carry a roster of current team members, but make sure you don’t neglect anyone!  A team member who isn’t personally greeted or encouraged will find out from other team members that you talked to others and will be insulted that you didn’t talk with him/her.  If you do miss talking to all of the team members, make sure to call those you missed right after the service to thank and encourage them. The “political pressure” of your first few days or weeks is significant! Your goal is to earn the current CM team’s respect through kindness and appreciation before you begin doing anything to strengthen the team or build team spirit. Remember that God has called you to this ministry. Remember that God is the one who is leading the ministry!  Remember that God has called each one of the CM team members.  Remembering these facts will help you navigate through the early days and weeks of this new ministry.  It would be good for you to schedule an all-team CM appreciation banquet in the early weeks of your new ministry. Ask others about the best time to hold this banquet. Your options are just after the final Sunday service, or on a Saturday or midweek evening. Evening programs are a challenge to parents unless you offer children’s ministry for the children. To solve this problem, you can invite the families of the CM team members to join them for the banquet. This solves the question of “what do we do with our children.” You may choose to offer children’s ministry for young babies or toddlers, though.  If you do this, it would be good to NOT ask the CM team members to serve the babies or toddlers. You might ask for volunteers from the church for this specific, one-time responsibility. At the banquet, show a slideshow of images of the current team serving the children and celebrate their service. Give a brief introduction to yourself, your passion, and your vision for the CM.  Your goal for this short (under 1 hour) celebration is for the current team members to leave being thrilled about the future of this ministry! Team spirit is also built through teamwear, ID badges, testimonies of positive team members shared in the adult service (live or video), social events for the CM team, CM team email newsletters, CM team website, etc. For more ideas, click on the links below.

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