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Family Specials News Magazine!
FSM 157 (FN 266) DO
Copyright: January 1990
By Family Services, Zurich, Switzerland

By Paul Papers

       As the name implies, "Teamwork" means working together as a TEAM, rather than as an individual. The concept of cooperative shepherding or Teamwork is the result of counsel passed on from the Folks during the ELC in 1985, when it was pointed out that we, as Shepherds, actually NEED others to SAFEGUARD us from our weaknesses. (See FSM 110.)
       No ONE PERSON or even COUPLE is endowed with all the gifts nor has such extensive training & experience to be able to properly oversee ALL aspects of an Area, Combo or Home. --But COLLECTIVELY two or three co-Shepherds can help provide all that's needed. In Teamwork, talents combine, like the pieces of a constructed puzzle, to provide the whole picture & make a well-rounded team. (See 1Cor.12:12-31.)
       Perhaps it's helpful to think in terms of an athletic team where everyone has a different position--forwards, defense men, goalies etc. It takes ALL of the players in the correct position to make up the team. In sports there are basically two types of team members--the "team players" who get along together & play well with others on the team--& the "hotshots" who try to hog the ball, score all the goals, & get all the credit & praise of the crowd. A team with all "team players" is more likely to win than one composed of "hotshots".
       Likewise, in cooperative leadership the same attitude is necessary--that everyone be willing to blend together to play the position where they are most needed in order that their team might win. Although individual talents, training & experience do have a bearing in whether a team wins or not, a very important element is their ability to work TOGETHER.--And this is also true in leadership Teamworks in the Family.
       In another sense of the word, MARRIAGE is also a form of Teamwork. Thus the same principles & lessons can be applied not only to teamwork in LEADERSHIP, but also in MARRIAGE & our INTER-RELATIONS with others in our Homes or ministries.
       As with any new idea or method, what's right in PRINCIPLE still takes some time to implement PRACTICALLY, & in the meantime a lot of trial & error is usually involved to bring about the desired result. The following articles testify to the trials & errors, victories & lessons experienced by various individuals & fields, as well as the wonderful results of Teamwork!

By Dust, Europe

       I want to share a little history of what happened when Teamworks were set up in Japan, how they developed & the different stages that they went through. I believe these principles & lessons might be beneficial to Teamworks that will be set up elsewhere.


       All the Shepherds & leaders of Japan (except for the appointed NASs) willingly relinquished their titles at the Japan Leadership Conference (JLC) in Sept.'87 & all the Area Shepherd Teamworks were appointed by the NOs & the NASs. While the Area Shepherd Teamworks were being APPOINTED, the Homes were ELECTING their own Home Teamworks.
       In most Homes throughout the country, their pre-JLC Shepherds were "ousted" & new Home shepherding Teamworks were voted in. Oftentimes, the most capable people were those who had been the Shepherds before the JLC, because if they HADN'T been the most capable, they wouldn't have BEEN the Shepherds in the first place. But, because of their various weaknesses & "crimes" committed which warranted drastic action, at the time of the JLC they were ousted in a shake-up that took on the proportions of a mini-RNR!
       The new Home Teamworks that were elected usually included three foreigners & one National. In many cases, the National had little previous shepherding experience, so being part of the Home Teamwork was intended to be an opportunity for them to receive training. So, the Homes were being run by these four-man committees. In many cases, however, such four-man committees comprised at least 40% of the adult membership of the Home, which proved to be too top-heavy. So this was one major lesson--NOT TO INVOLVE SUCH A HIGH PERCENTAGE OF PERSONNEL IN A TEAMWORK.


       There were many cases like the Home that I was living in at the time, where a Japanese sister, my wife & I were appointed to be the GAS TEAMWORK, & another couple in the Home was appointed to be the LAS TEAMWORK, & on top of that there was the HOME TEAMWORK. So in our particular Home there were NINE Shepherds living in one Home! With an adult population of 13, that meant that there were NINE chiefs & only FOUR indians! My Home was not an isolated case as this overabundance of Shepherds was prevalent in all the Homes where Area Shepherd Teamworks lived.

       In the beginning the Teamworks didn't have a senior member or Shepherd WHICH WE WERE SOON TO REALISE WAS NEEDED. All the members were considered "equal" & consequently the Homes lacked decisive leadership because no one actually took the LEAD.--Instead, the Homes were being run by "people's committees" that had become unwieldy, top-heavy, uncoordinated & hard to move.
       TTL, immediate steps were taken to remedy this problem. In an Area Shepherds' Meeting, the NOs suggested that the travel-ling Area Shepherds ask each of the Teamworks to pick a TEAMWORK SHEPHERD. I believe it was our ability to adjust in this situation, to abandon something that WASN'T working & to try something that MIGHT work better, that enabled us to solve this problem quickly & to gain ground in those early months right after the JLC. PTL!


       Another phenomenon which took place right after the JLC was that many Teamworks spent hours & hours each day going over one another's weaknesses & "being honest with one another" & generally paying a great deal of attention to their Teamwork, while their Home & the Work in general was falling apart around their ears. Overall, the Area's stats took a nosedive & finances were in a desperate state, partly due to THE HOME TEAMWORKS BEING A LITTLE OFF BALANCE WITH "OVER-COUNSELLING" AND LONG DAILY TEAMWORK MEETINGS & NOT ENOUGH ATTENTION ON THE WORK IN THE FIELDS. Eventually this problem was solved when the Teamwork members got to know each other & also the NOs suggested that Teamwork meetings not exceed ONE HOUR DAILY.
       I think these different phases that the Teamworks went through of exposing one another's NWOs & learning to be honest with one another was something that we NEEDED to go through & was actually a very BENEFICIAL stage, but it was a stage that we didn't need to STAY in.


       After making that first adjustment of having the Home Teamworks elect a Teamwork leader, & getting out of the "introspection" stage, the next adjustment needed was to find a solution to the problem of having too many Shepherds residing in a single Home (where there were Area Shepherd Teamworks & the Home Teamwork).
       In order to cope with this problem, the NO leadership suggested that THE HIGHEST RANKING TEAMWORK LIVING IN EACH HOME BE ULTIMATELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SHEPHERDING OF THE HOME. In my Home, for example, my Teamwork (the GAS Shepherd Teamwork) became responsible for the running of the Home. In our particular case, ONE MEMBER of our GAS Teamwork took on the main responsibility of shepherding the Home, & worked together with the existing HOME TEAMWORK.
       This became a very workable solution! One member of the highest-ranking Area Shepherd Teamwork would meet with the Home Teamwork every evening to conduct Teamwork meetings where they unitedly planned out the next day, & also plotted out weekly Home meetings, Sunday Fellowships, Meaningful Meetings, outreach attacks, provisioning, & all that goes into running a Home. This strengthened the field because the Area Shepherds really poured into the Home Teamworks within their own Homes; whereas before the Area Shepherds were more concerned with their responsibilities in their AREAS, & oftentimes not enough attention was given to their own HOMES.


       The Childcare Departments greatly benefited when the Area Shepherd Teamworks got more involved on the Home level, because they were able to jump right in & help organise & set up the childcare groups & the schooling etc. Also, in most cases the Area Shepherds had attended Delegates' Meetings, seminars or other leadership meetings, so through working closely with their Home Members, they were able to SHARE THE TRAINING that they had received.
       Another benefit of this set-up was that while ONE of the members of the Area Shepherd Teamwork was working within the Home & concentrating on training the Home Teamwork, the OTHER members of the Area Shepherd Teamwork could devote their attention to their Area, either visiting the Homes in the Area or handling communications, reports & so forth.
       Even though one member of the Area Shepherd Teamwork was involved with directly overseeing the Home, they were still a full-fledged practicing member of the Area Shepherd Teamwork & involved with the decision-making of the Area Shepherd Teamwork. The Area Teamworks were simply enlarging the borders of their tents & giving more of themselves to more aspects of the Work.
       What happened overall was that what had been a very bulky, unwieldy, top-heavy leadership set-up where everyone was sitting on top of each other, became a very fluid & operative & streamlined leadership structure in which a lot of training was being passed up & down the line. PTL!


       Recently I have seen other situations arise in different countries here in Europe where it took some time for their Teamworks to start working efficiently. For example, in one city four NASs were sitting on top of the Combo Home making all the decisions & then passing them on to one Home Shepherd who was trying to carry them out. It was sort of a four-against-one situation, where the poor Home Shepherd had a very hard time keeping up with the four NASs. Also, when he needed a decision or an answer on something, he'd ask one of them & they couldn't give an answer until they had checked with the other three & it went round & round. It became quite a top-heavy maze that took a lot of everybody's time & was a real bottleneck.
       In another NAS Teamwork there were two married couples on the Teamwork & things had become quite TOP-HEAVY. What was needed was to divide up the responsibilities & have each of them take a different sphere of ministry & responsibility within the team, rather than them sort of locking arms & walking around arm-in-arm, not even being able to get through a door together! Otherwise they get locked into such a situation where they're not able to make the most MINOR decisions without a unanimous full agreement of the entire Teamwork.
       In both of these situations, once we got things divided up, & assigned spheres of responsibility & jobs to take care of & min-istries to attend to, things began to run much more smoothly & the Homes were shepherded much more effectively.
       SO A VITAL PRINCIPLE WE CAN APPLY TO SETTING UP TEAMWORKS IS THAT WE DON'T NEED TO BE BOUND IF SOMETHING DOESN'T WORK & may be top-heavy, but rather should abandon it in favour of what WILL work BETTER & what will get the job done better.


       I had a meeting with a Teamwork of NAS Shepherds I was visiting where I poured out my heart to them about having more trust in one another & compassion on each other & not being suspicious of each other.
       Also the point came out that if you are aware of one another's weaknesses, it's important to guard against using it against one another. In talking with each member of this particular Teamwork & hearing their comments about one another & about the Teamwork in general, I felt they were still a bit overly concerned about the OTHER guy & whether or not he was going to be able to be honest & work on his weaknesses, rather than showing a large measure of love & tolerance for one another & accommodating one another in spite of each other's weaknesses.
       I related to them the story of when I first became a part of the NO Teamwork in Japan. At that time Josiah was going through a major breaking & it looked like he was a real mess & a real wreck. I could have just gotten into looking at that & seeing his weaknesses & totally mistrusting him & being suspicious of his every move. The Enemy did tempt me with those feelings, but seeing Josiah's breaking made me love him & trust him all the more because I saw how badly he wanted the victory & how willing he was to confess his weaknesses. In other words, his breaking didn't make me think any LESS of him, but rather made me love him more!
       None of us are perfect & we really need to understand, love & trust each other.--Even when we see the other one fall or make a mistake. Rather than losing all hope for that person & all trust, we should realise that we're all growing & learning & we've all got a long way to go! Thank the Lord that He can use us in spite of all that. TYJ!

By Chris, FENRO

       We have found in our Teamwork that the more we spread out the responsibility & work together & counsel & listen to each other, the lighter the load is & the more we are able to get done with the Lord's help. PTL!
       Though working in Teamwork may take more effort & at times it may SEEM that things can't be accomplished as quickly as with a one-man show, a Teamwork that works together in real LOVE & UNITY & COOPERATION will eventually accomplish more than any one individual or one couple is humanly able to accomplish. Also, although it may take a little longer to arrive at decisions, the decisions made in Teamworks are much more often RIGHT than those made by just one person. So you actually save a lot of time that is otherwise lost in backtracking over bad decisions.


       Sometimes people wonder why their teammate is so opposite from them in so many ways. For example, a sensitive person may find himself working with a pushy person, or an outgoing gregarious type may find himself with a quiet type. Someone who gravitates towards office-type work & paper duties may find himself with an inspirationalist. A very sexy person may find himself (or herself) with one who may not be so needy. The Lord is the One who engineers these combinations, because we need to learn from each other, & we need to YIELD & SUBMIT to one another.
       Differences in talents don't mean that we should work independently of our other team members. Our different talents & abilities are meant to work TOGETHER because no one person has all the answers or all of the talents & abilities needed to do the job. "In a multitude of counsellors there is safety." The end result is a more balanced sample to others where no one person gets the credit or carries the show, so the LORD gets the credit & the glory.


       Your Teamwork can be rendered ineffective due to improper balance. ONE EXTREME IS IN CONSTANTLY LOOKING OVER EACH OTHER'S SHOULDERS in a type of a "check & balance" system. THE OTHER IS THE "HE'LL TAKE CARE OF IT" SYNDROME in which you let everything that passes through your hands go by you because you think that the OTHER MEMBERS of your Teamwork will take care of it. It's also important to AVOID THE "COUNSELLING ABOUT EVERY NIT-PICKY DETAIL" syndrome that can paralyse an otherwise effective Teamwork and turn it into a decisionless, ineffective, cumbersome eternally-discussing blob.
       Delegation of responsibilities is essential so you are not tripping all over each other or each giving different orders to the same person, but it DOESN'T mean that you are the SOLE originator of ideas or that your opinion is the FINAL WORD regarding your designated area or department. Being over certain departments DOES mean that it is your main responsibility to stay tuned in to this department & that you're NORMALLY the one to execute decisions & changes in projects in that realm. However, don't fall into getting so attached to any one project that you consider it your "very own" & beyond the reach of your other Teamwork members.


       One pitfall of Teamwork is looking too much at the talents & abilities of others & minimising your own, which can upset the balance of your Teamwork. Another is being jealous of the way the other team members shine!--Or envious of the credit which they receive or the people they get to work with. Every member needs to abide in the calling wherein he is called & realise that EACH person brings their individual strengths, talents & abilities to the Teamwork.


       We have found that BY SETTING AN AGENDA AT THE BEGINNING OF OUR TEAMWORK MEETINGS, WE ARE AWARE OF HOW MANY POINTS WE NEED TO COVER IN THE TIME ALLOWED & this helps us to press in, stay attentive to the discussions & avoid "picking daisies". In our Teamwork meetings, it is the responsibility of whoever chairs the meeting to stay on the topics on the agenda & avoid detouring or sidetracking onto less important issues. Of course, the Lord can interject something new & different, but usually we try to guard against too many variations from the agenda.
       In all Teamwork meetings there are bound to be differences of opinions & different ideas. WE HAVE FOUND WHEN WE DON'T AGREE ON THINGS, IT'S HELPFUL TO LET THE DUST SETTLE FOR A DAY OR TWO BEFORE PICKING UP THE TOPIC AGAIN. At times like these each member of the Teamwork can take a little time to research their standpoint from the Word & put on paper the reasons why they feel their decision is best. After a few days all parties have usually had time to reflect on the matter & oftentimes the Lord has even gotten through with a few lessons that perhaps needed to be learned on all sides before the issue could be settled.


       If you don't agree when making a decision, another solution is to simply VOTE & trust the Lord that the results will be His decision in the situation. However, we found that if the matter is one of GREAT IMPORTANCE & we have opposite views or very differing opinions, then the point is usually worthy of further prayer & discussion. In these cases, we usually found the best alternative was to WAIT on a decision until we're able to pray about it & discuss it & come to a UNITED AGREEMENT.
       It seems to be a popular misconception of Teamworks that all members are equal & therefore no one should be "throwing his weight around" too much. Although every member of the Teamwork is needed & brings different talents & abilities with him, perhaps the most JUNIOR TEAMWORKER needs to just yield & trust the Lord if he finds he just can't seem to agree with the Teamwork leader.


       We recently encouraged our NASs not to spend ALL their time counselling together, but to try to limit it to certain times of the day, preferably to their morning Teamwork meeting. They were falling into the deceptive idea that they were working together well & counselling together well, because they were counselling together SO MUCH. But these long counsel sessions can actually get to be just a lot of HOT AIR with no decisions made, just constant discussion of problems. Of course, as Shepherds we do need to discuss things, but it's so much easier when we discuss within the framework of a meeting & keep to an agenda & establish solutions.
       We also encouraged this NAS Teamwork to have their secretary attend their meetings. She can not only take notes, but also the Shepherds can delegate a lot of the writing of phone messages etc. to her, which they can then just approve. We in the FENRO office have found it a real blessing to work this way.


       It helps to ground your Teamwork in the Word! TRY GOING THROUGH SOME WORD STUDIES TOGETHER! It helps to unite in spirit & vision, & cement your Teamwork together in unity. It takes time to learn how to work together--listening to each other, counselling together, learning when to go fast, when to go slow, when to split up on different projects & when to unite.
       Everything goes better if we make an effort to give some KISSES & HUGS & encouraging words to each other. Have fun together! TRY ESTABLISHING A BASIS OF REAL FRIENDSHIP TOGETHER SO THAT YOU CAN NOT ONLY WORK WELL TOGETHER, BUT YOU CAN RELAX & HAVE FUN & PLAY TOGETHER. When you have a foundation of friendship in a Teamwork, it's much easier to receive correction & advice from your co-workers in the same way that it is easier for you to receive correction from a close friend or someone you know loves you. We never know how long we'll have the privilege of working together, so we should try to really make it FUN & LOVING! PTL!

--From Talks Given at the HC School


       * A lot of the success & fruitfulness of your Teamwork will depend on having REGULAR UNITED DESPERATE PRAYER. As you acknowledge your utter dependance on the Lord & seek His guidance & direction, He will never fail to lead, inspire & empower you. PTL! (Pro. 3:5,6)
       * Another key factor in happy, fruitful Teamworking is the ATTITUDE of the members. Any Teamwork can work as long as the attitude of all involved is: "Let's do all WE can to make it work!"
       * If your goal is sincerely to make it work in order to get the job done, then you'll have more of a give-&-take attitude & by God's grace you'll be able to resolve any differences or difficulties that you may encounter.
       * If your primary motive is that you want to be the SENIOR MEMBER or you want to push YOUR ideas, then your Teamwork probably won't go very smoothly.
       * Teamwork is like a marriage.--If you want to make it work you don't just seek to change your MATE, you first concentrate on changing YOURSELF!
       * Another important factor in successful Teamworking is COMMUNICATION--learning how to present ideas & discuss matters--in order to reach sound decisions & make progress.


       * Presenting your ideas to your Teamwork so that you ENCOURAGE DISCUSSION is very important. Say you have been seeking the Lord concerning a problem in your Home or area & He gives you some leading as to what the solution might be.--And then you do a study on the subject in the Word and get several confirmations. So by the time you go to your next Teamwork meeting, you might be quite convinced that the Lord has shown you the answer to the problem. However, it doesn't usually work well to present your idea by saying, "The LORD, by His Spirit, has just shown me this direct REVELATION, right straight from the WORD!--GOD'S ANSWER for our problem!" This presentation doesn't open the floor for discussion or make your co-workers feel that they can present any OTHER sides of the situation, because to disagree with your suggestion would be like arguing with the LORD's direct revelation.
       * Of course, it is not wrong to seek the Lord's guidance & research the Word and "prepare your case" for your Teamwork meetings. And you may indeed get an answer from the Lord, in which case you certainly WOULD want to give the Lord the credit for giving you the idea. It's just that you shouldn't be too DOGMATIC in your presentation, but rather be OPEN to letting others express their views & opinions or help to fully DEVELOP the idea with their suggestions. Sometimes the Lord may give you an idea or solution as a SPRINGBOARD for other ideas, & after you pray together, discuss it together & build on it, the final solution may not be exactly what the original idea was, because it has been FINE-TUNED in the MULTITUDE OF COUNSELLORS. PTL!
       * You may feel strongly about something--& leaders DO need to have conviction--but you can be just as convinced of something & stand your ground, without presenting your viewpoint in such a FORCEFUL way that it puts your Teamworkers on the spot or on the defensive. If you are too dogmatic, you will make your co-workers feel like you're "railroading" your plan or that you already have your mind so made up that there is no room for THEIR opinions or suggestions. This can be very frustrating & will hinder communication & unity.--And worse yet, without everyone's input & suggestions, your Teamwork's decisions may be a little "off" because you may miss some factor in the Lord's ideal solution.
       * Also, if you feel you have "the" solution to offer & you deliver a big PACKAGE DEAL where you have every detail covered & everything planned & "figured out", it is likely to put your Teamwork on the spot where they feel they have to accept or reject the WHOLE PLAN! Whereas it is more realistic that in your proposed plan there will be points of AGREEMENT as well as points that need to be NEGOTIATED & MODIFIED. It's helpful to find points you all agree on first, & then proceed from there step by step.
       * It hinders your ideas being accepted if you come across like you know ALL the facts. Even if you THINK you do, it still doesn't hurt to take the "low seat" which makes it easier for others to accept any counsel that you may have. It's helpful to begin what you want to say with something like, "Maybe I don't understand EVERYTHING, but it seems to me that..."
       * If you come on like you know it all & are trying to "instruct the other ignoramuses", then people usually get offended. So, it's better to TREAD LIGHTLY when presenting your ideas or when listening to others' ideas. This doesn't mean you should be afraid to say anything, but it's better to give somebody ELSE the benefit of the doubt instead of being so convinced that YOU are always right. This is especially true when talking about somebody else's area or ministry.
       * Prayerfully try to find the RIGHT TIME to present an issue for discussion, taking into consideration how urgent it is, how many other topics are on your agenda, how much time you have & the availability of your teamworkers. Although the point you want to bring up for discussion might be a valid point, there may be other MORE IMPORTANT issues that need to be brought up FIRST. Or if everybody's a little tired or involved in other pressing situations or problems, bringing up a touchy or draining issue at that moment might not be wise.


       * When making decisions in your Teamwork, your main concern must be finding the Lord's Will. You can't be worrying about WHO'S right, but WHAT'S right.
       * You probably have a set amount of time in which to carry out your meeting (which means at least you SHOULD have a TENTATIVE TIME TO END). Therefore your "chairman" should have an idea of how MANY decisions you need to make in that time span, & roughly HOW MUCH TIME you can afford to spend discussing EACH subject.
       * You may find that you are not immediately able to reach concrete decisions on EVERY issue that you bring up in your Teamwork meetings. If you're not getting anywhere in your discussion or you're just not sure about what to do, the best thing might be just to admit it & wait & pray about it & come back to it later. After the dust settles, you might be able to talk about it more objectively. Or you could assign a smaller team, a SUB-COMMITTEE, to discuss it further (if it's not necessary for the whole Teamwork to be involved).
       * It doesn't usually pay to keep discussing & discussing an issue JUST FOR THE SAKE OF COMING TO A DECISION; because if you do, you might find out later that your decision was PREMATURE & you have to revise it anyway.
       * Sometimes you can bring a subject up & exchange a few different opinions for A WHILE, but then, for the sake of saving time, you can pass it on to your sub-committee to propose a final decision. For example, questions about something like security, schedules or survival etc. can generate LOTS of suggestions and the conversation has the potential to go on & on & on. So, in a case like this, it's good to know HOW MUCH you need to toss it around & WHEN to stop the discussions & opt for the sub-committee. (But be sure to set a tentative deadline as to when the sub-committee will present their proposal so that the matter doesn't become "shelved" indefinitely!)
       * It seems best to discuss ideas privately within your Teamwork before throwing them out to a larger group of people such as your Executive Council (in the case of a large School or Combo) or all the members of your Home. The reason for this is because if you do throw out ideas publicly without counseling together first, it could be confusing for those listening if YOU say something & someone else on your Teamwork says the OPPOSITE. This can even cause division because you have people taking sides about an issue before you as a Teamwork are in unity about it.



       * A common weak spot of Teamworks is not following through after decisions are made. This weakness in your Teamwork will result in lots of discussion & time spent in meetings without much PROGRESS.
       We can draw a lesson from the little anecdote about the mice who were having a council meeting in the basement. They were discussing how this big cat was pestering them & how dangerous he had become & how they needed to do something about him. They discussed the matter back & forth & they all agreed that something had to be DONE to protect them from constantly being attacked by surprise by this cat. They felt that if they only had some sort of warning signal, they would not get caught. One of the mice came up with the brilliant idea of hanging a bell around the cat's neck, & they all thought it was just the right thing to do. The motion was passed unanimously!--Then the president of the mouse meeting said, "Well, WHO is going to bell the cat?" Likewise in your Teamwork meetings, try to assign somebody to follow up on each decision you make to make sure it gets done. This practice can be the backbone to productivity--make sure someone is assigned to CARRY OUT EVERY DECISION, to "bell the cat"!
       * Also it helps if each person reads his "To Do List" aloud at the beginning of your Teamwork meetings so all can take stock of what HAS been done & what has NOT been done. This serves as a good reminder for each person to FOLLOW THROUGH on the decisions that have been delegated to him.



       * A hindrance to good Teamwork is sensitivity about your department or area of responsibility. For example, if somebody mentions a problem or needed change in your department & you get offended, thinking, "Why are you PICKING ON my department?", the natural reaction of your Teamworkers is to say, "Okay, we'll leave your department the way it is, we won't discuss it any more."--But you & your department won't progress much further than that!
       * Another sign of sensitivity is when somebody makes a suggestion about your department or area & you BELITTLE the suggestion & defend & justify your department. That form of sensitivity squelches suggestions & slows down needed progress.
       * It's good to remember that people who aren't as closely involved in a department can often see the overall picture & far-reaching effects more clearly than someone who is involved with every detail of that department. So we all need to lay our sensitivity aside & listen to others' opinions about our department, even if they're contrary to our own.


       * Along the same line, it doesn't work if you defend your department or field of expertise & always want to have the LAST WORD on it. The Lord DOESN'T give all the ideas through ONE channel, even if you may be the "expert" on a certain subject or responsible for a certain area. It can hinder Teamwork if you jealously guard your ministry or responsibility. We all need to grow, even in the areas that we're GOOD at, to get BETTER, & we can even learn from somebody who doesn't know that much about our department.--The Lord can speak through anybody.


       * It's not wrong to have a Head or senior member in a Teamwork, but that Head needs to be aware of EVERYBODY'S gifts & talents & try to use them to the full. It can be very frustrating for Teamworkers if the Head of the Teamwork asks for their opinion, but never seriously CONSIDERS their opinion or ACCEPTS their counsel or gives THEM the opportunity to shine. That causes real difficult interactions in Teamworks because it will eventually frustrate & discourage your Teamworkers when you don't value their opinions & ideas.


       * FAMILIARITY can seep into Teamwork so that you look at each other in the flesh & MINIMISE THE LORD in each other. Then pretty soon you hardly have faith in each other any more. You begin to think, "I know her, she's NEVER going to change, that's just the way she IS!" This type of attitude is one of the worst enemies of a Teamwork.
       * It's good to be close together, but not so buddy-buddy that you can't see the Lord in each other, & really pray & get desperate together about things.



       * When working in Teamwork, it's ideal to have an open-hearted relationship about your PERSONAL LIFE. In other words, Teamwork should not just be "professional", just WORK. It should involve your WALK WITH THE LORD too, & you should be willing to communicate & help each other in spiritual matters also. If you omit this personal aspect of working together then you will miss one of the most rewarding aspects of working in Teamwork.
       * Being a check & balance to each other & helping each other with your NWOs is an important part of Teamwork. In fact, giving & receiving correction is one of the greatest blessings of working in Teamwork.
       * It really helps to confess & expose your weaknesses & NWOs to your Teamworkers. This makes it much easier for your co-workers to check you when you start to fall into those weaknesses again. If your co-workers know that you are already aware of a weakness in your life, then they can just offer a little REMINDER when you need it, rather than some big confrontation.
       * It also makes it easier to receive reminders about your NWOs if it's already common knowledge between you that it's an area you are fighting to gain greater victories in. In fact, if you are open about your weaknesses, it becomes easier to even ASK for help & correction. You can simply say, "Am I getting off the track in that area AGAIN? I'm not sure, but I feel like maybe I am. Please tell me if I am." It will then be quite easy for you to just RECEIVE the checks from your co-workers, APOLOGISE, CORRECT THE PROBLEM & KEEP GOING for the Lord. PTL!
       * If you feel there is something that needs to be pointed out to one of your Teamworkers but you're not quite sure about it, you don't have to feel you're "talking behind their back" if you double-check your feelings by counselling about it with one of your other Teamworkers. However, if you do discuss it together & agree that something needs to be brought up to your team member, it's important that you DO bring it up.
       * In other words, if you follow through & POINT OUT the weakness or the need for improvement to your co-worker, then your private discussion beforehand was productive & done in love. But if you just talk about someone, bring out their bad points, share your discontent about them & that's as far as it goes, then THAT kind of discussion will NOT bear good fruit or generate unity.
       * It boils down to your attitude & if what your are doing is in LOVE & for the good of the overall Work & the well-being of your co-worker.--If it is, it will bear good fruit, your co-worker will probably appreciate the correction & you will all continue to learn & grow together.
       * In a situation where you want to bring something up to one of your Teamworkers, you can decide between yourselves who would be the best one to talk to the person in question. In most cases, it's probably best if two of you talk to him together as "two are better than one".
       * If you need to present something to the senior member of your Teamwork, sometimes it's EASIER to present your points respectfully--but also honestly & fully--in a note. This approach also works well if somebody is an especially strong character & you feel if you talk to them directly their guard might be up or you might have mental blocks on both sides.


       * There are several ways to report in a Teamwork. You can write one report unitedly or you can each write your own individual report. If you report individually there is the option of allowing the other members of your Teamwork to read your reports for the sake of unity & communication. However, if you decide to read each other's reports, it's important that everyone has the opportunity to report OUTSIDE of these public reports if they so desire. For example, if there is some problem brewing within your Teamwork & you feel you need help from your Shepherds, you can send a private report or add a P.S. to your report. (You would not be obligated to circulate the P.S. within your Teamwork.--You could simply cut the P.S. off the "communal" copy of your report before circulating it.)
       * When reporting, be as honest & specific as possible. You can't just make hints & insinuations & hope your Shepherds will pick it up & do something to help you. You can't hope that your overseers will "read between the lines" of your reports & figure out what your problems are. It doesn't matter HOW MANY lines there are, your Shepherds STILL can't read between them! You need to be SPECIFIC.
       * If you are an Area Shepherd Teamwork, it is important that you make sure all the members of your subordinate Teamworks have your address & the freedom to write to you personally, should the need arise.


By Isaac Numbers

       My first experience in Teamwork was at the JLC. I'd worked mostly on my own before that, & on my first course in Teamwork I didn't get an "A". I just didn't understand the picture of Teamwork. I'd been asked to visit Japan as an overseer & investigate & see what the need was & TTL, HE did it! (And I probably felt that I must have done SOME of it too.) Later while we were planning the JLC Meetings I got the message that Paul Papers was coming to help with them. My initial reaction was, "Well, there it goes! I can't be TRUSTED to do this!" But looking back at those meetings where Paul, Josiah & I worked together desperately, 20 hours a day, how I ever thought I could have gotten through those meetings by MYSELF is a big joke! I saw how much better it was to work in Teamwork!
       It's nice to have a couple of other shoulders to lean on & other arms to help carry the load. None of us can make it on our own--we've tried! We've tried to be strong & important & it just doesn't work! We know it has to be the LORD! It's just a matter of us having to grow up. It seems to me that the more we mature, the more we desire to work through Teamwork, rather than the old-style leadership who wants to do it on their own.

By Sara D.

       I hadn't had any experience with working in Teamwork until I came to the Japan School. Others have been talking about Teamwork in the East now for a couple of years, but I hardly knew the word existed. So it's a whole new school of learning for me.
       Isaac was saying that we all used to be like big, raw carrot sticks. That's how we used to operate. But then the Lord saw fit to chop us up & put us in a meat stew, & now as Teamwork leaders we're just PART of the overall stew. No one's the big carrot stick any more--you become part of the TEAM! That was a real good picture for me, & I saw that I just stayed raw & uncooked too long, that's why I missed so much of my learning process in certain areas. I've been so much more fulfilled & happy just to be blended. Now I wonder how I ever operated otherwise!

By Faithy

       At first when I realised I was going to have to work in Teamwork with my co-worker shepherding our pre-teen group, since we didn't hit it off well in our first encounters, I was apprehensive. I was SURE he didn't like me. But there was such a need in the JETT (Junior Endtime Teens) Department & there were just the TWO of us, so we HAD to work together. I asked the Lord to help me because I just didn't know how to work with him.
       The key that helped me was HUMILITY. I took the LEARNING position & tried to take the humble seat & explain to him that I really DIDN'T KNOW ANYTHING about what I was doing & that he could really help me. Then our whole rapport changed, suddenly the communications became so much easier & he confessed to me that HE hadn't wanted to work with ME either, so we were even.--Ha! Once we got it out in the open & found out we were BOTH afraid of each other, then the Lord took away all the tension. It was just the Lord! Before I would have been in COMPETITION, but it feels so much better that we are all CARRYING THE LOAD TOGETHER. I know it's a real miracle of God! TYJ!

By Chris, FENRO

       Envy & competition have been my biggest problems in Teamwork. I have not been a very easy person to work with on Teamworks. In fact, people wanted me on their Teamwork about as much as they wanted a pet porcupine!--That's about how close they could get to me because I had a real problem with ENVY, which is also known as "the rottenness of the bones" (Prov.14:30), & COMPETITION which is more simply known as pride.
       I'll try to give you an example of how this competition manifested itself. Josiah can move quite fast & I'm not naturally extremely fast. I have two speeds--slow & reverse. So working with him provoked a real spirit of competition in me. It got to be a real problem actually & it just about ruined our Teamwork. At one point I was determined that I was going to go "faster" than Josiah. If he was going to get up at 6:00, I would be up at 5:30. If he was going to get up at 5:30, he would find me already up & with my coffee. If he was going to dictate for one hour, I was going to have ALREADY dictated for two hours, covering every subject he could possibly conceive of.
       Well, it was disastrous & I had to learn some big lessons, mostly how to have peace & a trust that even if I am slow, the Lord has a place for me & a reason for it & not to doubt the Lord or murmur or complain. The Lord gave me a little analogy of a car. If you look at a car it doesn't JUST have a gas pedal, it has a brake pedal & clutch as well. If it only had a gas pedal then at the first curve you'd wreck the car. It also doesn't ONLY have a brake pedal, if it did you wouldn't get anywhere. It needs both for proper balance, to maintain the proper speed, to go faster when necessary & to slow down when it's dangerous to go too fast. And another needed personality in this analogy is someone who can assist these other two "pedals" when a shift of gears is necessary.
       I realised that although my problem was envy & competitiveness, beneath it was a CRITICAL SPIRIT. When I saw that, I finally had something that I could grasp. I hadn't known how to fight envy. I knew to watch out for it & to pray against it, but I didn't quite know how to fight it. I didn't quite know how to fight competition either. But when I saw this problem as CRITICALNESS, it gave me an easier way to fight it because I could see it more easily.
       I was deceived by this critical spirit which is very close to a self-righteous spirit, they seem to walk hand-in-hand. Criticalness is so similar to self-righteousness because it is often RIGHT. When I am critical of others it's often accurate, but the difference is the SPIRIT of it all. It's really a legalism of the Devil & he can really feed you a lot of legalistic ammunition to foment disunity, which, of course, is his goal--to divide & conquer.
       I used to WATCH FOR MISTAKES with my critical eye & that's one of the things that made me hard to work with, because it makes people very uncomfortable when somebody's just waiting for them to make a mistake. I would see mistakes & they would be my "fuel" for not wanting to submit or work in Teamwork with somebody or not wanting to trust their judgments, decisions or counsel. Everybody makes mistakes, but I used to watch for those mistakes & they would feed my "proof" & I would think, "Look at that guy...I've got to watch out for him!"
       Recently I've continued learning lessons about being jealous of how the Lord uses others, & being competitive with other leadership. The Lord really opened my eyes to it & I saw things so clearly. It was a turning point in my life & I knew I needed to stay on the attack against this problem with a real good WORD STUDY & memory project on the subject to keep me from falling into it again.
       But I manifested these problems of jealousy & competitiveness again when we went to an Area Shepherd's meeting. When I'm with a group of people is usually when these problems come more to the surface. Josiah & I seem to get along well & work together quite well on our own, but when working with OTHERS I run into a feeling of INSECURITY & jealousy. Even if it doesn't come out of my mouth, I radiate a black cloud of criticalness.
       When I fell into these long-standing problems again it was discouraging, because although it was obvious to others, I wasn't expecting it, which shows that I was pretty off guard about it.
       Maybe the Lord allowed me to fall into envy & competitiveness again just for two big lessons: First, to show me the absolute necessity of a long-term Word study. I've got to keep myself STEEPED IN THE WORD to avoid falling into these weaknesses. The other lesson was the exposure of my criticalness & how it has worked in my life. I never thought of myself as being a critical person, but now I've been able to see a lot more clearly just how critical I can be. In the past I hadn't been able to discern the real legalistic trap it led me into, or see the sad fruits of disunity resulting from it.
       When finding myself up against this somewhat familiar foe, I was pretty disgusted with how I allowed myself to slip back into this problem that has so bedeviled me for a number of years in one form or another. I was tempted to really bottom out & throw in the towel, but the Lord--and I've really got to give the Lord the credit here--just seemed to reach down & turn me around & not let me go in that direction.
       One Letter that really helped me at this time was "God's Chess Game" (ML#1951). I have read this Letter many times, but I had never fully grasped most of the Letter. It was totally new, speaking to me in such a new & personal way!
       Two paragraphs that especially spoke to me were 30 & 31, where Dad says, "Why do you think the Lord lets you make these mistakes? Why do you think God let Adam & Eve fall prey to temptation & falling in the Garden? Haven't I preached to you about this before? What do you think it's all about?--To prove that you need God, to prove that you can't do it on your own. And what does that do? That glorifies the Lord. Doesn't it make you praise & thank the Lord that you do anything right? Doesn't it make you praise & thank the Lord that you can do anything for the Lord, that you're here at least serving the Lord fulltime whatever you're doing? Doesn't it make you thank the Lord that you're saved?"
       These lessons helped me not to fall into condemnation, but to see that this is a weakness I have & something that I will probably fight until the day I die, if not well into the Millennium. But what I need to do is stay in the Word & keep my guard up against it. The same as a diabetic has to stay away from sweets & an anemic person needs extra liver or iron to supplement the iron in their blood, by the same token I need a consistent maintenance program to keep me from falling into this jealous or envious or competitive rut.
       I'm thankful for these good lessons & certainly appreciate the Lord's mercy & patience with me, even though I seem to be such a slow learner in some of these things. The Lord really seems to be helping me kick this critical spirit that I've had & I'm so glad to get rid of it, because I'm a whole lot happier when I'm not in that negative channel. I'm eager to keep working on & gaining even more victories in these weak areas! PTL!

Copyright 1996 The Family