A Blog for "Non-Players"

Play…I’ve always struggled with this action verb a bit.

As a child, I was a terrible player. I far preferred to spend time with my mom baking cookies or listening to the adults visit over playing dolls with the neighborhood girls and riding bikes with my brother. I was not particularly inventive or imaginative, and I preferred to be entertained rather than finding ways to entertain myself.

As I’ve aged, I still am not a great “player”. Costume parties are so NOT my thing – unless I can dress up as a princess – and playing a goofy game is still not my cup of tea. I do not seek out opportunities to be silly.

Yet here is the thing with play – it is hands down one of the most, if not the most, effective and efficient ways to bond and build a team. In fact, when I start with a new team, it’s the first thing I do with them.  We play together, we do something fun.

When a team plays, there is a shared story and a shared experience that not only connects and establishes the individuals in the moment, but continues to gel the team long after the activity itself.

Here’s an example.  A couple months ago, our Gracepoint staff team went paddleboarding.  We are all of varied levels and abilities and I confess, I have some paddleboard skills. I may have even been quietly confident in my abilities on the board.  Fast forward halfway into our team build. In jest, we are now all teasing that I am pretty decent, and a couple others are struggling. Not five minutes after those exchanges, I look back at one of my colleagues as a wave is coming in, and I land myself in the water – the only one to fall that day.  Imagine the jokes that emerge and continue to emerge around “pride come before the fall”.

Also picture the comraderies that happened when our youth pastor was helping our worship pastor find his balance, or when we realized that our eldest staff member was the fastest paddler. We all had a laugh about that over ice cream!

 
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When we play together as a team, it unites us more like family and less like co-workers. It interjects FUN into days that are sometimes a tough go as we do ministry.  It gives us opportunities to play different roles on our teams – leaders in the office sometimes aren’t the leaders when we play and it gives space for everyone to make contributions. Play gives us perspective and helps us not take ourselves to seriously.

This why even Jesus – yes Jesus – played with his team of disciples.  All those shared meals, fishing expeditions, and walks weren’t possibly all just work.  I’m quite confident that they played too.

So…to you all you “non-player” leaders.  Go have some fun with your team. Then see what happens next.

By Kim Savage

Kim Savage is wife, mother, ambitious career gal and most importantly a beloved daughter of the Most High King and follower of Jesus.  Kim came to faith in her late teens through Young Life and she has spent most of her career in project management and leadership for the non-profit sector.  Only in the last few years did God call her into ministry. Kim currently serves at Gracepoint Community Church. She has a heart for the marginalized and believes that God calls His church to be His hands and feet in the world – making a significant impact in our communities.

Kim Savage