04 Feb Tips for Sharing Ministry Space – Part 4: Before Decor – Creating Agreements!

This post is part of a series on how to share environment space with other ministry teams. It might also be helpful for children’s ministry leaders that work in a portable setting.

Before Decor


five-dysfunctions-of-a-teamWhen Community Christian Church launched 8 years ago, the staff team read a book together called “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” by Patrick Lencioni. This book helps leaders build effective and cohesive teams, by uncovering five dysfunctions that are often present in organizations. The information in this book was paramount for the leadership team of our church. It helped determine how the staff team would function from the start. The principles that were set in place when our church launched, have proven effective over the 8 years we’ve been in existence and especially in recent years as the staff has grown.

One of the greatest things that keeps our staff team functioning in a healthy way, is our attempt to build trust with one another. Building trust in any relationship is complex and requires a variety of things, but we have found that a key ingredient in building trust is keeping agreements. Agreements are basically statements of specific procedures that we have all decided (agreed) to follow. Our original leadership team developed certain agreements when our church first launched. The list has grown a bit over the years but for the most part, we have a small list of things that we have all agreed to honor. Some agreements have to do with how our meetings function, some have to do with expectations for how we will function as a team, and some have to do with the spaces we share.

Our Agreements About Shared Space

  • Leave it better than you found it! All of the agreements we have at CCC are helpful, but I admit this is one of my favorites! Maybe it’s the “mom” in me. 🙂 All moms like it when “people” clean up after themselves – right? Well, while this may remain a desire at my home, it is a must at my work. At CCC, this agreement means that if we’ve had an event or have utilized a space for something, we will put that environment back to it’s original multi-purpose state before we leave – and – we’ll leave it even better than we may have found it. For example, if trash is piling up in the corner trashcan when we take over the space, we empty it before we leave. If someone forgot to put something away, we put it away for them. There should be no statements like: “Well, I didn’t leave that there, so I’m not cleaning it up.” Or, that’s not my job.” We are in ministry and are servants… so why not serve one another? Now, we are human and we all drop the ball sometimes. There needs to be grace and forgiveness at the helm of every agreement, however if agreements are consistently broken (i.e. the environment is consistently not up to snuff or if someone has left it a mess and has not put things back the way they were originally agreed upon – causing you or another teammate extra work), another one of our agreements comes into play.
  • pyramidHave the conversation. This is not one of my favorite agreements, because I am not a confrontational person. I do not enjoy conflict and before coming to work at CCC, you could usually find me avoiding it at all costs. However, this agreement has taught me so much and it’s actually spilled over to my home life. I’m in a season of raising teenagers, so the timing has been perfect! This agreement, while difficult at the start is essential in fostering healthy relationships. Implementing this agreement has taught me the benefit of healthy conflict and the importance of “having the conversation” even when it’s hard. Stepping up to the plate at the front end of a conflict will help avoid a bigger conflict (and a more difficult conversation) down the road. In addition, as ministry leaders we want to talk with each other about issues, rather than about each other. As hard as it is to confront a fellow teammate, we’ve found that “having the conversation” actually builds trust among co-workers and fosters a healthy staff culture. It also helps avoid building resentments and keeps systems and processes for sharing environment space moving forward.

How about you? Do you have any tips for how to share ministry space and keep your relationships healthy while doing so? What are some ground rules you’ve established with your teammates as you share ministry space?