Building Teams That Thrive Without Us

We all have that fear…. What will happen if we’re not there? How can we take a weekend off? How will the service survive? We know that we need rest; we know that we are biblically called to take a Sabbath. And we know that our families desire a Sunday away together. However, our fear often becomes a roadblock to trusting that everything will be fine without us. In some churches, that fear is based in reality. Yet, Proverbs 11:28 tells us that “those who trust in themselves are fools.”

I combined … perfectionism and a workaholic mentality that often come with being a tech director, and I nearly ran my life personally and professionally into the ground.

For me, this was a tough lesson to learn. I like things to run a certain way. Combine that with the perfectionism and workaholic mentality that often comes with being a tech director, and I nearly ran my life personally and professionally into the ground. All that I built was depending upon the imperfect me.

A new outlook

After years of struggles in my personal life because of the demands I placed on my professional life, I concluded that the only way both my team and I would survive was to trust that they could succeed without me. The only way I could become a better leader was to “unemploy myself” and trust that God’s got this. I had to train up others who could be me, with or without me there.

The only way I could become a better leader was to “unemploy myself” and trust that God’s got this.

When we decide to “unemploy ourselves,” we are deciding to turn the ministry over to God, not relying on our strength to run the service, but His. The Great Commission is a command to “go and make” (Mt 28:19). It is an active participation in growing the church body through investing in the people that God trusts to us, and not through the creation of the “perfect” service. Building a self-sufficient tech department is not about filling and refilling the empty Planning Center positions via a rotating door of volunteers, but through investing in the technical and spiritual knowledge of those who serve with us. When we develop those entrusted to us, “with such sacrifices, God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:16). In turning our attention to the needs of our team, God is able to use their talents in ways we could neither do nor imagine ourselves. “Unemploying ourselves” opens the door for God and His people to work through us rather than in spite of us. By trusting our team to thrive without us, we witness the kingdom grow through the seeds we planted months and years ago.

In God’s time

In turn, what happens when we trust God’s people to own the role God has called them to? Usually, it is not that they fail. It is that they flourish. They become leaders themselves. They become those with whom we break bread, we pray with and for, whose kids grow up with ours, who come to us in times of trial, and who we lean on through our struggles. They become those we rely on both professionally and personally.

We build a successful tech ministry when we stop worrying about who will fill the tech booth seats on Sunday morning, but develop people who can confidently fill our position.

We build a successful tech ministry when we stop worrying about who will fill the tech booth seats on Sunday morning, but develop people who can confidently fill our position. When we invest in our team through spurring on one another through “love and good [tech] deeds” (Hebrews 10:24-25), we demonstrate trust in God’s desire to make our ministry thrive because of the heart-filled service of the entire team, and not because of our position of leadership. In this way, we end up creating an atmosphere of success and growth that is founded in the service of God, through the people provided by God, with the talents instilled by God, for the people of God.

By Josiah Way

Josiah Way is the Director of Multimedia Services at California Baptist University, Riverside, CA, and contracts as the Regional Tech Director at Saddleback Church Aliso Viejo.



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