Reflect or Perish: The 5D's of Reflection for Ministry Teams
Updated: Oct 13, 2021
Through my years in ministry - that's about 3 decades now - I've rarely heard anyone talk about the art of reflection as it relates to improving team culture. Yet, reflection is critical to the health and long-term effectiveness of a ministry team. What is reflection? Well in the team
context it's simply means building in time to gather as a team for the purpose of evaluation. Usually reflection relates to specific tasks, goals, or events recently reached or executed. Put simply, it's a time to ask the team, "How did we do? And how can we do better"
That said, let me offer what I call the "5D's of Reflection for Ministry Teams."
Dialogue: pull your team together and ask one question, “What was it like for you to reach this goal or project?” Nothing is off limits – just ask people to practice kindness. Assign someone to take notes that can be distributed to the team so they can then work on the second "D"...
Downtime: after dialoguing and reviewing the data, give everyone time to process what they have heard – encourage them to keep a short journal of their thoughts and bring that with them to the next meeting.
Discussion – bring the team back together and ask each member to share their greatest challenge and their greatest victory in accomplishing the goal, executing an event, or achieving a certain task.
Data: The team leader should do more listening at this point than talking. Why? Because listening to your team members here will give you valuable insight into the abilities, talents, weaknesses, and so on about your team. More importantly, this data gives you, the leader, an opportunity to best see how you can help the team member improve her or his leadership. In the end, this will give them greater autonomy to take on more leadership responsibility.
Direction – use what you have learned through this process to help you tailor the direction of your next goal and reveal ways you as the leader can help team members grow.
The 5D's can be done in less than a day. However, as a leader you must build intentional times to help your team reflect on what they've done, be challenged to improve, and celebrate where they have done well. Reflection is time well spent.