Caring for your Team

I have been a sports-mom for at least 22 years. All of our kids have been part of a team, whether it was volleyball, weightlifting, soccer, baseball, or hockey. I have watched how coaches teach and care for not only my, but other children on their teams for many years. Some of these coaches did an amazing job, others, not so much.

One of these coaches stands out in my mind. Watching from afar, over the course of a few seasons, I was able to see how he brought a bunch of gangly teenage boys together to form a baseball team. Every kid was different - different in character, morals, and family dynamics. Some were shy and quiet, others boisterous and full of energy. Some were gifted ball players, others had dreams to be just that. What amazed me most about this coach was his intentionality to get to know each kid’s personality, strengths, weaknesses, struggles, and triumphs. He invested in each player to see how the could shine best on his baseball team. He was the first to cheer when they made a great play, and when they messed up, he would come alongside to gently encourage them, showing them how to be better next time. This coach took an interest in his players as young men. His goal was to help influence these young men to be good people first, and good baseball players second.

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I’ve learnt quite a bit sitting on the sidelines over the years of what to do and not to do when leading a team. As I get to lead (coach) teams, these are some of the elements I try to implement the best I can…

The best way to care for others is to first care for my own soul.

We as high capacity leaders need to model the way. If we are too busy, our heads are too full, we are over-extended in responsibilities, we are no use to our team. Rest and soul care is crucial to leading a team. You cannot give what you don’t have. We need to be fully present for them.

Know each team member as who they are as an individual

What are their strengths and gifting’s? What motivates them, and what crushes their spirits?  It doesn’t stop there - get to know their families! Having personal connections with your team will help build trust and lasting relationships.

Be their biggest cheerleader.

Celebrate often! Spontaneous lunches and coffee dates go a long way.

Coach and correct with grace, truth & love.

Don’t be afraid to hold them accountable or let them fail. We learn a lot from our failures.

Have a “my door is always open” policy.

Engage in weekly check-ins; always listen – be fully present in conversations. Make sure your team members know you have their back.

Pray for your team, and WITH your team with intentionality.

Model the way with authenticity and integrity.


My desire for each individual on my team is that they will far exceed my expectations, and to ensure they are becoming the BEST form of Jesus they can be. I want them to lead better than I ever could!


“You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.

(John 15:16-17)

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By Twyla Schlenker

Twyla has been married to Gary for 32 years, and is a mom to Kristi, Leesa, and Jeff, along with her son-in-law, Tyler.

Her deepest desire is for others to know Jesus in a deeply personal way, to grow deep roots in Him, and then model the way to others. Twyla has been on staff for 11 years at Trinity Church in Kelowna BC, and is currently serving as the Director of Discipleship Development/Care. Twyla loves great conversations around the dinner table, cheering on her kids, and quiet walks along the shores of Okanagan Lake with a great cup of java.


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