What makes a great team?–The gospel according to soccer: Part 6

Over the past few weeks, we’ve discussed what great soccer teams can teach organizations and ministries, and the orphan care movement in particular, about the importance of defining our terms and establishing common success measures that unify our teams. Without such commonly defined terms and success measures, it is really hard, if not impossible, to effectively work together as a team. But simply defining terms and success measures isn’t enough.

Much more goes into great teams, whether on the soccer field, in businesses, in the church, or the non-profit world.  And this leads us right into the second lesson that soccer teaches all of us.



2) Great players on great soccer teams work together as one to achieve their well-defined goals.

They play their positions to the best of their ability every time they step onto the field.

They don’t try to do everything or be somebody else.

They use their unique set of gifts, skills, and talents to make the team better.

They keep ego/envy out of the equation.

They pass to each other, cover for each other, encourage each other, and do other things to make each other better throughout the game.

Great teammates push each other to do better, to strive for more excellence. They sharpen each other. And when teammates sharpen each other, they often do things that they wouldn’t do otherwise. They often do things that they don’t think that they’re even capable of. They push each other to another level.

Man United celebrationGreat teammates don’t compete against each other. They don’t get upset when a player better than them joins the team, even if they play the same position. They don’t get jealous if a teammate gets the credit for a goal or other things (assists, saves, etc.) during a game. To the contrary, they celebrate these things with each other because it makes them better and helps them to achieve their common goals. Just watch some post-goal celebrations in major soccer matches and you’ll see what I’m talking about (here’s a fun example).

When teammates really work together and want each other to succeed, there is a synergy—the whole is usually much greater than the sum of its parts. Anyone who has watched soccer knows that soccer teams full of average players that play as a unified team and truly care about each others’ and their team’s success very often beat other teams full of great players who try to do it on their own are competing among themselves.

In the end, great teammates win together.


Great teammates lose together.

As a team.

As one.

What would look like if the Church, our organizations, and our ministries worked together like this?