EP. 02: THE “E” IN TEAMWORK IS FOR ECONOMY OF ENERGY

Even a thoroughbred horse can’t run at a full gait all the time. The quickest way to burn-out a team is to never let them relax. The book of Proverbs teaches: “A relaxed attitude lengthens a man’s life.” (Proverbs 14:30, LB) If you want the people on your team to last, they must have some down time.

Here are some ways you can promote an economy of energy within your team:

  • Anticipate and compensate for personal and family energy drains, such as illnesses and new babies. Your team has a life outside of their area of ministry.
  • Allow people to work at different energy levels on different days. Some days, everyone must work fast and energetic. Other days, it is important to slow the pace a bit. In the long term, slow and steady always outlasts the fast and furious.
  • Plan your year in energy cycles. At Saddleback, we always build in rest periods for consolidation between major growth campaigns and initiatives.
  • Allow flexibility in schedules when possible.
  • Make the work fun!

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Mingo Palacios:

The “E” in teamwork stands for the economy of energy. And like at first pass, that makes absolutely no sense, but I’m going to try to like break it down for you. It’s really how we manage what energy is required of us when we show up for a ministry or as we lead our teams. And Proverbs 14:30 talks about how a relaxed attitude lengthens a person’s life and a relaxed attitude is actually kind of the core value for what it means to have the economy of energy under wraps. So, if I could put two words around it, I would say it’s like a relaxed concern, right? We know what it’s like to see leaders or volunteers operate in a stress concern and that is like, that’s a disaster waiting to happen because just an average attendee can come in, make the wrong step, do the wrong thing on accident and if that person is under too much stress and they’re overly concerned, it can be disastrous instead of a ministry. So we value, we highlight the idea that is brought about in Proverbs about that idea of a relaxed attitude, being able to lengthen not just a person’s life, but somebody’s ability to serve on a team for a healthy amount of time. So, what are some suggestions in a way that would actually improve somebody’s economy of energy? Let me give you a few. The first one, don’t expect everybody on your team to work at the same energy level all the time. And I think one of the best ways we can imagine this being worked out is like a ministry table that is set up and manned before service begins. Sometimes a volunteer will be so eager to get some signups that they’ll actually be trying to chase somebody down before the service is starting. And it’s the wrong time to appropriate all that energy into getting something done. So, somebody is coming to church, let them be greeted, let them get their kids checked in, let them find a cup of coffee and make their way into the service. Tone down your sign up energy for when it’s appropriate, which is after everything is said and done, maybe on their way to getting their kids or after they got their kids going to maybe the car, that’s when you’d want to dial up that energy. And more importantly, you can’t expect everybody to be on level 10 all the time. You have to understand.

Carolina Corrales:

Yeah, I have a thought about that.

Mingo Palacios:

Tell me. Tell me the thought.

Carolina Corrales:

You know, as a volunteer you sometimes have volunteers that are a little more extroverted or introverted. So knowing that as a team leader, a coach, it’s very important to know that, you know, letting the volunteer know that if they’re more introverted, “Okay, we’re going to ease you into this.”

Mingo Palacios:

There’s places for that.

Carolina Corrales:

There’s places for that. Yeah, exactly. And, “If you’re more extroverted, you know, then I have a better spot for you.” Don’t feel you need to be on all the time.

Mingo Palacios:

Or be somebody else.

Carolina Corrales:

Yeah, exactly.

Mingo Palacios:

So many people think that ministry is only built for extroverts and it’s such like a wrong assumption.

Carolina Corrales:

Yeah. Yeah.

Tyler Hofer:

Every Sunday morning is like me managing my energy level because I’m an introvert naturally. So it’s like I’ve got to psych myself up and turn it on and know that I don’t have to keep that level the whole day. It’s like I know, you know, once I’m off stage hosting or once we’re done-

Mingo Palacios:

You can go somewhere to crash. Yeah. That’s what I do. [laughing]

Tyler Hofer:

Yeah. It’s like, “Man, I’m just going to go home and crash.”

Mingo Palacios:

It’s so good. So don’t expect everybody to work at the same energy level all the time. The second one, be aware of external drains on energy and be willing to compensate. So this is actually, it points to the idea of not just focusing narrowly on your own responsibilities, but understand that there are several ministries operating at the same time. So like if you see one ministry that is dealing with some unexpected challenges, it’s okay to convert and divert your own energy and help in another space. So, a few weeks ago we were working diligently on getting some stuff off the lawn and it kind of required everyone’s attention and energy to make sure that that was managed well so that all of us could have a great Sunday morning.

Tyler Hofer:

Yeah.

Mingo Palacios:

And it sometimes requires you to think beyond your own ministry responsibility, but that’s what teamwork is all about, not just managing what’s in front of you, but also seeing and being aware of what’s happening everywhere else.

Tyler Hofer:

Yeah. These external drains can be people. I’m thinking of volunteers who are coming who have little kids. I’m in that boat right now and the drain at that can have on you. How do you compensate for that coming in like a crazy hectic Sunday morning, but you come in and you’re feeling drained because like you’re only a couple hours into the morning, but you’re already like wiped out. Compensating for that.

Mingo Palacios:

I just had a conversation, just to put a cherry on that observation, was a young girl who said, “We want to come, but our child, he’s got like just some extra needs” and it was great to be able to compensate for that and go, “Hey, you know what’s really great is we actually have a lot of really capable children’s ministry volunteers and staff. So even if your child, you feel like has above normal needs, I want you to know that we’ve been able to compensate for that.” And instantly like her energy was just in on it. She goes, “I’ll be there. I’m bringing my parents.” Like, you can help compensate for that. So, this is another great one. Plan out your year in energy cycles. So if you know there’s a big season for like, let’s say pulling and calling in host leaders, you want to ramp up your energy for that. You don’t want to be constantly asking leaders to be on 24/7 because when you need them most, you’ll have them the least. If you’re constantly hitting the throttle on them. So think about your year as a leader, think about your year as a volunteer and make sure that like according to the ministry you’re serving in, you’ve got the energy to put out there on the seasons when it’s going to call the most out of you. Are you thinking about something?

Tyler Hofer:

Yeah, I am. Man, our whole church calendar is built on these cycles. It’s like, you know, Christmas time where it’s like a big ask for our volunteer teams and that’s when we’re going to need a lot of energy. So we started building those teams up early, but knowing that there’s going to be cycles when more energy is required and I think we’re getting better at that.

Mingo Palacios:

Yeah. That’s good. That’s a good observation internally.

Tyler Hofer:

Yeah.

Mingo Palacios:

That’s a great observation. Here’s a good one. Allow flexible schedules. Carolina, how do you manage people’s flexibility? And sometimes that can be read as inconsistency, but I’m not going to like drop it into that negative bucket. Sometimes we just have to be flexible. How do you manage that flexibility on a team? Somebody calls out.

Carolina Corrales:

Yeah, somebody calls out, you know, I know that hopefully I’ve gotten some kind of a notice, you know, enough time to be able to fill that slot and the next day or the day of. But sometimes you know that sometimes you have to do, you know, life happens. But I think that, oh my God, I lost my thought.

Mingo Palacios:

It’s all good. It’s all about flexible schedules. So I would say like if you’re a leader and you’ve got a team, one of the best things you can do is actually backfill, like have a plan B, a plan C and a plan D, right? So if it requires two people to manage a particular team, make sure you’ve got those two people on lock, but maybe ask another set of people just in case you get that call out because people have regular lives. Oh, and I was going to ask you also, Carolina, as somebody who manages the flexibility of teams, what is like an optimal amount of time? Let’s clear the air on this one. Like, people are going to call out, what’s the best, if they’re going to give you enough buffer, what would you prefer?

Carolina Corrales:

I would prefer a 24 to 48 hour notice. [laughing]

Mingo Palacios:

That’s not bad. Do people need to feel bad?

Carolina Corrales:

No. No, if something happens, something comes up like I absolutely, I understand. Yeah. I know that happens to me. It happens to all of us. Things happen and we have to be, you know, flexible. It is nice to know though, you know, ahead of time so that we can fill those slots.

Tyler Hofer:

Yeah. Yeah. I think the bigger issue is the communication part of that. Right?

Mingo Palacios:

That’s good.

Tyler Hofer:

There’s flexibility but communication is key of letting us know ahead of time. And so I want to dispel that myth of that the staff is upset or the leaders are upset when you decline. Like, you can’t be there for a weekend because one of the number one things that people ask me when they want to jump on a serving team is like, “What if I have to miss a Sunday? Does that disqualify me?” I’m like, “We’re not signing you up for 52 weeks out of the year.”

Mingo Palacios:

Yeah.

Tyler Hofer:

Life happens. It’s flexible, but communication is really what a leader appreciates when you’re going to miss a weekend.

Mingo Palacios:

Yeah, I know I certainly do when I can help forecast how to cover something, right? I want you to have a great life and I understand that there’s going to be like things that we don’t expect to come up in our calendar. Allowing for flexible schedules as a team, but also as a team leader, if you’re leading a team, you can’t require 52 Sundays a year out of people. They don’t even expect that out of me, the senior pastor. So we ought not to expect that out of volunteers.

Tyler Hofer:

[laughing] Yeah.

Mingo Palacios:

Here’s another great one. Work Smarter, not harder. Now we’ve heard that phrase a million times, but I love Ecclesiastes Chapter 10. It tells us that if the ax is dull and its edge is unsharpened more strength, more energy is needed, but skill will bring much success. And this has everything to do with how we plan, how we focus and how we execute great ministry. So, an unplanned like time of ministry won’t be as effective as a planned time. That’s why even giving a courtesy call to say, “Hey, I know I was on the schedule, but I can’t be there.” It helps us not experienced a dull ministry moment, right? We can sharpen it by calling it a second draft. Somebody who’s the plan B or plan C, that helps us work smart in ministry. So, work smarter, not harder. Here’s two more. Focus on the long haul. For leaders, we ask everybody to think long-term in serving in this ministry. And you may not naturally think about the long haul, but, um, it’s super important to be able to understand that how we manage our energy for long seasons is so much more valuable than like a short sprint. Yes, there are seasons for sprinting, but when you manage your energy, you know, “Man, we’re going to take another lap. We’re going to have another week. There’s going to be another Sunday. So I got to appropriate my energy, appropriately in regards to that idea.” And then lastly, make sure you’re making ministry fun. And I cannot express this enough if you’re not having fun while serving, if you’re like dragging your heels and super like not looking forward to serving, you’ve got to reconsider where you’re serving. Right? Ever serve on a team that was not fun at all. Anybody ever been there?

Tyler Hofer:

Yes.

Mingo Palacios:

And I would argue you can do some of the least fun things on a great team that make it extremely enjoyable. Like, nobody likes doing dishes, right? But like the company that you keep, I’m thinking specifically about our time over Christmas, when we got left with like a mountain of dishes-

Carolina Corrales:

Oh my God.

Mingo Palacios:

That was not fun for me, but the company was so good. I love spending time with you Carolina. I love spending time with you, Tyler. It doesn’t have to be a fun task, but you can actually make it enjoyable as a team.

Tyler Hofer:

Yeah and that energy rubs off on people who come to church, like when a volunteer is having fun, when they’re at a station or wherever and they’re enjoying life, that transfers that energy transfers over.

Mingo Palacios:

Carolina, thanks for making it fun.

Carolina Corrales:

Thank you.

Mingo Palacios:

All right. What’s next?

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