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Ministry–Major League Team Ready?

Donna Hostetler

Major League Baseball’s season is just around the corner! I love baseball! I grew up on baseball. I was born in St. Louis and went with my dad to many Cardinals’ games. When we weren’t at the game, the game was on the radio or TV at home. There’s nothing like a great game.

My hometown team is a winning team. One of the most successful franchises in baseball history, the STL Cardinals have won 11 World Series Championships, 19 National League Pennants and 13 Division titles. Just sayin!

I believe there are parallels between winning baseball teams and effective ministry teams.

Key components for winning teams include:

  • Talent

The team is designed with particular players who excel in specific roles. Yadier Molina is an exceptional catcher, but I doubt he would be a proficient pitcher. Knowing the strengths of each player is critical. This is true in the church staff as well. Unfortunately, sometimes church leaders are placed or change roles and are not playing to their best strengths. Effectiveness is compromised. Defining, hiring, and placing staff leaders in the correct roles is critical.

  • Spring Training

Every spring the players come together to prepare for the season ahead. (Hopefully this shortened spring training doesn’t affect my team!) A game plan is developed. Players review the strategy, get in shape and understand who their opposition is. The best player roster is determined. A successful church has a game plan as well. The vision and strategy must be clear with leader responsibilities defined and designated. Evaluating the team and “getting in shape” with program or staff changes may be necessary. On-going leader learning is critical and should be encouraged through conferences, simulcasts, personal coaching, books, etc.

  • Coaching

In baseball, there are many coaching roles from pitching, hitting, bullpen, base, athletic, and bench coaches. Each of these has a specific responsibility to help players analyze and adjust their techniques. Skilled coaches provide expertise out of their own experience. Ministry leader coaches also provide challenge, encouragement, an objective perspective, experience and a listening ear for leaders. If you don’t have one, consider it! 

  • Teamwork

According to, “Teamwork is a cooperative or coordinated effort on the part of a group of persons acting together in the interests of a common cause.”

As a team, the STL Cardinals’ awards, franchise stats and accolades are staggering. In 2015, the average nightly game attendance at Busch Stadium was over 43,000 with over 3 million in attendance for the season.

Stats such as these are not gathered based on individual star players, though the Cardinals have had many throughout their history. The reality is that they are a winning club because they play as a TEAM. Though Yadi does his job effectively, he is dependent on the Cardinal hitters scoring the runs when they’re up to bat. The crowd is rooting for the team defensively and offensively.

A winning church leadership team works together cooperatively, not in silos, not with their own individual goals. The enemy of the church loves to create conflict among the team and distraction from purpose. Effective ministry is dependent on commitment to players fully understanding their roles and teamwork.  And the congregation knows when it’s working or not.

The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”   Babe Ruth

Is your team a winning team? Do you have leaders needing a Coach? Call us to help you analyze and encourage your team for the season ahead! 616-218-8895

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