blogLeadership DevelopmentTransitions

When the System is Disrupted

For several years now I’ve had the luxury of working with a great team of gifted individuals. We have been blessed to do work that we have felt called to do, in part, because we had the perfect mix of gifts, talents, and passions working together to cover all of the different elements that make ministry possible.

But there was a disruption to this system back over the summer when our team’s most administratively gifted member had her first child and began her maternity leave. And just as we were ramping up for our busiest season!

We were thrilled for her and her family – and couldn’t have guessed at that point just how much her presence would be missed.

Our colleague provided an extensive manual for the temp and student workers who would be tasked with filling her shoes while she was gone – and although they did great work, it just wasn’t the same.

She rejoined our team part time this past November, and rather quickly helped to get our office and workflow back in order. But our blissful reunion was short lived. After the Christmas holiday she informed us of her decision to stay home full time with her little bundle.

Our team knew this was a possibility all along. And although we were once again thrilled for her, we struggled to see our way forward.

It’s the perfect example of not really knowing what you’ve got until it’s gone.

Sure, you are somewhat aware of how much each team members contributes to the overall health and success of what you do as a team. But it’s often not until a significant disruption occurs that you’re truly faced with the reality of what different members bring to the table.

No, our ministry efforts didn’t come screeching to a complete halt. But we have definitely had to reconsider our approach to a number of different efforts as a result of being down a critical member (and set of gifts) of our team.

It’s one thing to work outside your wheelhouse every now and then. It’s something else entirely to try to function as a team when you’re missing a valued team member, who really gets it, and the major gifts and talents they possess.

We’ve spent the first several weeks of 2015 getting into the new semester, and going through a search process – hoping to find the right person to join our team and fill the gaps that have become so glaring.

Although she won’t start for a couple more weeks (but who’s counting… right!?) I’m excited about who we have found to move into this critical role within our team. I am incredibly confident that the gifts, talents, and passions she will bring to the team – although different from her predecessor – will provide a renewed sense of wholeness to our team. And just like her predecessor, I have every confidence that she “gets it” and will help take our ministry efforts to a whole new level.

While less than easy or enjoyable, the last several months that our team has been in a state of disruption has served to remind me of just what a gift good team chemistry and a well-balanced team truly are.

Can you relate? Have you been there? Does any of this ring true for you? What stories or insights do you have to share from a disrupted system or season of ministry?