Strong Teams: Why Team USA Is NOT a Strong Team


If you are like me, you are following the Winter Olympics. By “following” I mean, I keep checking ESPN to see if the USA won anything each day, and I watch a little at night with the family. I’m sure I should be more patriotic and care more about the Olympics but come on, it’s not like it’s the Summer Olympics or anything.

One event that every four years seem to be force fed to us on the NBC primetime programming is figure skating. I’m not a big figure skating fan, although I do kinda like the Will Ferrell movie Blades of Glory. However, all of us in the family were really pumped on Sunday night when Mirai Nagasu landed the triple axel in her event in the figure skating Team Competition. Her unbridled excitement after her program was finished was one of my favorite moments of 2018 thus far.

Despite my excitement over her performance, I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of the skating “Team” Competition. This is an event that takes place over several days that includes performances of men’s and women’s singles, pairs, and ice dancing. Scores from each of these performances are then compiled to declare specific national teams as medal winners instead of just individual medalist. Ultimately, this led to Team USA winning the bronze in this event.

Overall, there’s nothing wrong with this concept, but my problem is that adding up the scores of several individuals from the same country does not make a team. Other than cheering their fellow countrymen/women on in what seem to be really cramped and uncomfortable bleachers, they don’t seem to be doing anything close to resembling a team.

Yes, each of these incredible athletes participates in the same sport, but I suspect if you privately ask them if they’d trade it for an individual medal in their respective discipline, they would do so in a heartbeat. That’s why they are not a team.

This is not a criticism of these athletes. I get it! They participate for years in an individual event, where success and fame are accomplished by being individual winners. To expect them to think “Team” when their lives for years are centered around “Individual” is too much to ask, but in a church, the foundational pillar begins to crack when pastors begin to think “Individual” instead of “Team.”

Here at BreakThru Churches, we believe every great church must have four strong pillars: A Vibrant Leader, Strong Team, Kingdom Values, and a Bold Plan. To us, a Strong Team is made of more than strong individuals, but instead, those incredible individuals are operating together on a daily basis to accomplish the mission, vision, and values of the team.

If leaders begin to think about what is best for their individual ministries, passions, and mission instead of what is best for the entire church, the team becomes weak. For instance, if a Youth Pastor is more concerned about what she wants to accomplish in her ministry, even though it’s not aligned with the mission and vision of the church, then there’s a problem. If a Worship Pastor is more concerned with recording his own music instead of pastoring people in the congregation, there again, is a problem.

Strong teams aren’t just made up of talented individuals excelling in their individual roles. They support and serve one another, help each other get better, and are ruthlessly committed to holding one another accountable to the unity of the church and accomplishing the mission and vision God has for it.

If your team is made up of great individuals, but they really aren’t a “Team,” then we need to talk. Contact me today at



About the author, Chris

I am the founder of BreakThru Churches, a community of Christ followers who are committed to helping leaders and churches achieve their WHY. I believe every person and ministry has a unique mission (their WHY) and my WHY is to help others achieve that.

I have served churches in Colorado, Maryland, and Tennessee, for more than 20 years as a pastor, leader, educator, and coach. My biggest WHYs are to embrace that I am restored child of God, and to be the best husband I can be to my wife, Kyrie, and our 3 kiddos, and serve the leaders of churches.

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