The Youth and Teamwork

The Youth and Teamwork

“Strength lies in differences, not in similarities”
Sthphen Covey

Teamwork is a divine
idea and of great
importance, which
is centralized in the
same triad essence of
God. The Trinity constitutes the perfect
divine team. The Father, the Son, and the
Holy Spirit have always worked together
to provide and sustain the universal
creation. Under the divine government,
nothing stays free by chance. The
creation of man is a result of the divine
team, that said: “Let us make mankind
in our image, in our likeness” (Genesis
1:26). The idea of working in a team, then,
originates in God and fulfills the reason
by which we were created. As a result,
since its origin we see that human
beings gather together, and they do so in
great societies as well as in the smallest
circle of the home. It’s fundamental to
value the joint work so that our societies,
governments and religious entities can
survive and reach success.


According to the Spanish Language
General Dictionary, a team is a “group of
people organized to carry out an activity
or task.” According to Wilkes, it’s “a group
of people connected for the mission
of reaching a shared goal.”1
Based on
his own experience, the investigator
says that a team is “a group of people
with common and clear objectives and
purposes, organized to reach a defined
goal.” Katzenbach and Smith use the
definition of the team from Harvard
University Business School: “A small
group of people with complementary
skills that are committed with purpose,
common capacities of which each one is
equally responsible.”2
For his part, Glenn
Parker says with wisdom that not every
group of people is a team and that not
every team performs effectively, and that
is because a team is a group of people
with a high sense of interdependence
oriented towards an achievement, goal
or fulfillment of a task.”3

According to Mead and Stowell, no
organization can function well without
the participation of a group of people,
because people are more efficient
when they unite their efforts to achieve
common objectives.”4
On the other hand,
for Stephanie and Steven, teamwork in
a coordinated way is the most valuable
asset an organization has. The motive
is simple: it’s much easier to carry out
responsibilities, ideas and services,
which contributes to the guarantee
of success.5
In addition, they point out
that when a person does something
spectacular it’s because he had the
support and the commitment of others.6
Another author, Maxwell, considers that
it’s important to know that we are too
small to do great things; a person cannot
do anything transcendental except
they do in a group and all important
act in history always has a team of
people involved.7
Lastly, Malphurs
says that a good team is integrated by
individuals with distinct personalities
and capacities, and that these
differences are what makes a significant
contribution to ministry.8

We all know that we live in an
individualistic world, in a world in
which “I” penetrates in all the spheres
of life, home, society, business and
government. Maxwell comments that
the “individualism wins trophies, but
teamwork wins the approval of others.”9
Dungy also says something very
interesting in that regard: “As a team, the
ensemble has to be better than the sum
of each individual part.”10 For his part,
Butterworth believes that we should
sacrifice personal glory for the collective
good and support the team.11

This remains clear with what
happened to us during superstorm
Sandy, when the Adventist Community
Services Department along with the
youth of the City of New York met at
their respective churches and formed
teams to support the effort sustained
during innumerable hours of voluntary
work, fundraising, distribution of articles
of clothing, food and personal care
packages and the most important:
helping victims of the storm move out
of the affected houses. That is how we
met Maria, who had lost her house, her
belongings and, as she herself said, even
hope. Maria’s house was close to the
coast, and that was a very big risk. She
told us that she thought that the storm
wasn’t going to be too big and decided
to stay, but the water started to enter
the house and immediately she found
refuge in the second floor. As the water
entered her house, it destroyed all she
had. Maria thought it was the end for
her family. Days after the storm, a team
of young people came to her house and
she tended to them; in spite of her loss,
she felt grateful to God because she
was alive along with her two children.
Her hope was revived when she saw the
team of young people willing to help her.
The team took out everything that was
destroyed, and the house was cleaned.
In this story we can see how a team with
a clear vision, mission and objective
could do great things for God. Maria was
impacted by the act of a group that knew
why they were on earth: to be a blessing
to others.


Now we have seen how important
it is to work as a team and how it
prepares us to be more effective, to
learn more and guarantee success,
which brings various additional benefits
for our development. We also learn to
live in a community, to support each
other, to minimize pride and to reach
great success. The investigators propose
seven essential elements that motive a
team: values, mission, vision, purpose,
objectives, and defined strategies. Let’s
see a brief summary of each one.


Values are like a compass that
guides the team and helps in decisionmaking. Having values is united to
the question: in what do we believe?
Values, as Butterworth says, identifies
the norms and the path to follow to
achieve harmonious work12; in this
sense, it functions as the helm of the
behavior of the team since it governs
the behavior of an organization and
besides, it is, according to Blanchard, the
nonnegotiable principles that define a

Maxwell observes that “the
organizational values influence and
guide the behavior of the team in the
same manner in which the personal
values influence and guide the behavior
of an individual.”14 Consequently, it is
recommended to practice our values,
institutionalize them and praise them
publicly. The values of ministry, in
particular, dictate the what and the why
of things. In other words, the values
determine the vision.15

Before continuing, here is a brief
anecdote: at an event to which I was
invited to preach, a church family got
together to serve the homeless during
the weekend. They said that our mission
is to serve people who had nothing and
that roam the streets. That Saturday and
Sunday they prepared more than three
thousand plates of food to give to the
homeless. Hundreds of brethren went to
different points of the city; we organized
ourselves by zone and by team, and
the result was phenomenal: finally, the
needy were touched by an act of love.
Some of them expressed that they were
forgotten but now they had life and hope.

Also, I remember Kim, a
businessman who because of circumstances of life had lost everything. His
wife had abandoned him, and he had
found refuge in alcohol in such a way
that he ended up in bankruptcy. When we
found him, he was on the floor, ruined.
We offered food but he didn’t want it. He
disregarded us and said that he didn’t
need us. Kim’s heart was hardened;
there was pain and resentment on his
face. Then one of the youths said: “Let’s
sing to him”, and another started to play
the guitar. In one second, Kim started
to cry bitterly without control. One of
the youths gave him a hug and he cried
even more. After some time, Kim started
to tell us his story and we all sat at his
feet to listen to him attentively. First,
he thanked us for the songs and the
hugs, and then, in a funny way, he told us
that he was hungry, and that he would
accept the food. Today, we can say that
the team’s act of going out and touching
lives made an extraordinary change in
Kim, that now is a manager of a large
company thanks to the reestablishment
of his life. He loves God greatly and also
the members of the same church that
helped him.

Together in mission we can change
the world.


Having a mission is to know where
we are heading to. It affects the future
planning of the team or organization; it
defines what is our labor or activity and it
helps us know what we are dedicated to.
Also, it is very important to know who our
audience is. The mission is, in short, what
the ministry should fulfill.


A team without vision is destined
to disappear. A ministry without vision
is like a carpenter without a hammer.
Barna wrote that only two percent of
the pastors “can articulate the vision of
their churches.” And he added: “This is
the reason for which many pastors aren’t
efficient; they don’t know where they are
headed.”16 The vision defines the future,
describes it, feels it and anticipates
it. It also helps answer the following
questions: Where are we going? Why are
we doing what we are doing?17 Vision is
the photography of the future that will
give purpose and direction to the group,18
that is, it relates to our dreams and
aspirations, who we can become.

In a similar fashion to the other
authors, Malphurs says that having a
vision brings unity and not having it
brings disunity. This means that when
there is a common vision, in general,
there also is harmony in the team.19 A
ministry without vision doesn’t know
where it’s going, it’s disorganized; but
having a vision, on the contrary, keeps
the team united because it stimulates
passion, gives energy, alters the
status quo and disrupts the mediocre
mentalities and decadent ministries.
The same Mulphurs affirms that “warm
and definite vision has the potential
of melting the most frozen heart.”20
Whereas, the vision responds to the
what, purpose, as we will now see,
responds to the why.


Maxwell comments that “although
the vision tells people where they
need to go, purpose tells them why
they should go there.”21 Purpose helps
maintain us in the right path, make
adjustments, improvise and innovate,
even when we find obstacles or
difficulties.22 Blanchard and Stoner point
out that the organizations exist for a
purpose and that, above all, the large
organizations give it much importance,
since it inspires compromise and
emotion.23 Rick Warren, for his part,
thinks that purposes should be simple,
clear and specific, since in that way
energies are focused and time is saved24;
and in addition it allows for everyone to
remember it, which is important so that
they are able to transmit it later.25

Purpose, in short, describes the
reason for the mission and, in the
words of Stowell and Mead, guides and
motivates teamwork.26


Goals help the team reach a final
objective because they are processes
that should be followed and completed.
According to the Real Academy of the
Spanish Language, goal is the “end
toward which someone’s actions and
desires are directed to.” Maxwell is clear
when talking about goals: “Without goals,
nor a strategy to reach them, vision isn’t
attainable nor measurable.”27


Objectives are declarations used to
outline in a quantitative and qualitative
manner the proposed achievement in
the short and long term. Objectives help
us to eliminate the deficiencies that
can exist and help crystalize the action
or work plan, which in turn is formed by


A healthy team should have defined
strategies according to its values. The
same clarifies how the team will fulfill
its purpose and objectives, that is, how
the ministry will implement its mission
and vision.28 It’s formed by planned
actions to achieve a purpose, meaning
that it answers the question: How are we
going to achieve it? In addition, it details
the results that the team should fulfill
in the long term. In other words, strategy
solidifies the path and the place.29

These seven essential elements
will cause the team to reach great
results. With strength and conviction,
nothing can stop the team in the
fulfillment of the mission.


1. Wilkes, 1998, p. 215
2. Katzenbach and Smith, 1993, p. 45
3. Parker, Glenn, 2008, p. 16
4. Mead and Stowell, 2007, p. 51
5. Ibid., pp.3-4
6. Ibid., p. 7
7. Maxwell, 2009a, Kindle, u. 154-1268
8. Malphurs, 1999, p. 20
9. Maxwell, 2009a
10. Dungy, 2011, p. 16
11. Butterworth, 2007, p. 73
12. Butterworth, 2007, p. 182
13. Blanchard, 2006, Kindle Edition, u. 1676
de 1971
14. Maxwell, 2008, p. 207
15. Malphurs, 1999, p. 225
16. Barna, 1995a, p. 125
17. Ibid., p. 82
18. Blanchard and Stoner, 2011, Kindle edition,
u. 1710-1971
19. Malphurs, 1999, p. 20
20. Ibid. p. 31
21. Maxwell, 2009a,
22. Ibid
23. Blanchard and Stoner, 2011, Kindle edition,
u. 459-1971
24. Warren, Rick, 1998, p. 106
25. Ibid., p. 107
26. Stowell and Mead, 2007, p. 82
27. Maxwell, 2009a, u. 272
28. Malphurs, 1999, p. 14
29. Stowell and Mead, 2007, p. 83.

Andrés J. Peralta, D. Min.
Associate Youth Director
General Conference of the
Seventh-day Adventists


Adventist Youth Leader Magazine

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