Missions,  Team dynamics

How to Ruin Missionary Teamwork

#1-  Be Passive Aggressive

This is guaranteed to work.  Increase the use of sarcasm, sarcasm is always well received!  No one gets their feelings hurt when you use sarcasm.  Give a fake smile.  Fake nod of approval works too.  Guilt trips would be on point.  Deliberately avoid responding to your teammates.  I could go on about this one! 

No, please don’t do this!  Be honest and open.  Kindly and respectfully challenge passive aggressive behavior when you see it.  Clear the air.  It’s much easier to navigate team dynamics when everyone is being honest.

#2-  Make Assumptions

It’s always best to assume that you know your teammates thoughts and intentions.  You’re probably the only one on your team who truly wants people to know the love of Jesus, right?  Everyone else is a fake.  And you probably know exactly what they think about you, don’t you?    

None of us are mind readers.  Did you ask your teammate if they actually can’t stand you?  Did you ask them what they are thinking or feeling?  No?  Then you’d be wise to refrain from making judgements over their intentions or projecting your own feelings onto them.

#3-  Avoid Conflict

AT ALL COST.  Christians do not argue, fuss or fight.  If you have to sit and grit your teeth, refer back to #1, maintain that stance, and grin and bear it.  Nothing good can come from conflict.  Ever.  Just don’t do it.  Did you hear me?  Just leave that elephant sitting right there in the middle of the room.  It will not be a hindrance.  Promise. 

Well, that’s just crazy talk and it WILL be a hindrance.  Conflict is hard, yes.  But conflict can be healthy and good.  It’s in the conflict and struggle that “iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27:17).  Progress is rarely made by pretending that everything is roses and butterflies.

#4-  Don’t Communicate

This is pretty basic to ruining teamwork and closely relates to all the others.  It’s best for your communication to remain unclear and infrequent.  It will help to foster a sense of confusion, isolation and suspicion.  All things that are good for teamwork….eh…

NO!  Communicate clearly, openly and frequently. You are in the trenches together and you cannot go to battle without clear communication.  Without communication you have no plan and your team risks being defeated.

#5-  Compare Yourself to Others

This is a good one.  If you happen to be the “best missionary” on your team, you most certainly want to make sure everyone knows it.  Most especially yourself.  If you happen to be the “worst missionary” on your team, then you should resort to self-deprication and self-pity.  You’ll all feel better and be more productive. 

I do hope you’ve realized I am being facetious with all this!  “Comparison is the thief of joy”…not sure where that originated from but I need to be reminded of it frequently.  I would add that comparison is the thief of peace, energy, productivity, purpose, teamwork and all things helpful.

#6-  Maintain Your Agenda

You and I both know you are probably the only intelligent, reasonable person on your team.  It’s unlikely anyone else would ever have good ideas.  Stick to your guns.  Don’t give up the fight…except wait…don’t really “fight” (see #3), just stubbornly but meekly maintain your ground.  Everyone will win in the long run. 

Why do we find it so difficult to let go of our agenda?  Two of the culprits are pride and insecurity which generally stem from losing focus.  It doesn’t take much to lose focus of who we are in Christ and what our purpose is, as individuals and as a team.  By focusing on things above we are able to look beyond ourselves and pursue HIS agenda…together.


“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.  He makes the whole body fit together perfectly.  As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”  – Ephesians 4:15-16


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