A pastor was soliciting support for an upcoming mission trip. He wanted parishioners from his church to assist in the cleanup efforts and help rebuild damaged homes in a community that had been devastated by a hurricane.

Not everyone in the congregation was able to go on the trip. Some had work and family obligations. Others had health issues and physical limitations.

The pastor was aware of those situations and didn’t want to make parishioners who couldn’t go on the mission trip feel guilty, but neither did he want to absolve them from what he believed was their moral obligation to help a community in need.

Mindful of the anticipated expenses associated with the trip (travel, food, lodging, supplies, etc.), the pastor explained to the parishioners that they could contribute to the mission in other ways, stating: “Some give by going on the mission. Some go on the mission by giving. Both of those contributions matter.”

Without the means, the mission is not possible.

The most successful teams embody the pastor’s summation. Every team member has a role, and every role matters. For example, in the sport of American football, quarterbacks throw, receivers catch, and linemen block. They all have a role to play on the team. And the team has a mission: win.

Eliminate any one of those roles, and the mission fails. The receiver can’t catch if the quarterback doesn’t have time to throw the ball. The quarterback won’t have time to throw the ball if the linemen don’t block. The team won’t score touchdowns if each doesn’t perform his role. Without touchdowns, winning is not possible.

Similar scenarios can be found on other sports teams, school staffs, and corporate organizations. Every team is dependent on the willingness of its members to embrace and master their respective roles.

In competitive sports, the issue with roles is complicated by the matter of playing time. Players sometimes discount their contribution to the team not only because of the position they play but also by how much they get to play. Back-up players need to remember the pastor’s words about contributing to the mission.

Going on the mission—playing in the game—isn’t the only way to give. Providing support in training sessions, accuracy in scouting drills, and encouragement in games are all ways for back-ups to give to the mission.

Bad teammates worry about what role they have. Good teammates focus on the significance their role plays in their team’s mission. When teammates care more about the mission than what role they have, they put their team in a position to achieve.

As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.

Lance Loya is a leading authority on the good teammate mindset. He is a college basketball coach turned author, blogger, and professional speaker, who inspires TEAMBUSTERS to become TEAMMATES. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or through his weekly Teammate Tuesday blog.


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