By Marc Woodson, NCC President
And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons. (Mark 3:13-15, NKJV)
Last year, I started a series of articles delving into the significance of organizational health within the Northern California Conference. Over the past three years, our journey has been transformative. Rooted in the belief that as a mission-oriented, faith-based organization, our conference’s health is pivotal for achieving significant milestones in service to God and His kingdom.
The exhilaration lies in witnessing the positive impact our commitment to organizational health has had on our office headquarters, churches, schools, and various ministries. Like any pursuit of health, the results are not instantaneous, but we are gradually reshaping the way we carry out God’s work, steadfastly advancing our mission of reaching the people of Northern California.
As I shared in last year’s article, there are four key disciplines to practice on a journey toward organizational health. They are:
- build a cohesive leadership team
- create clarity for the organization
- overcommunicate that clarity
- reinforce clarity
In this article, I want to focus on teamwork. Let’s look at the example of Jesus, who, as a leader, selected a team of twelve ordinary men to advance His mission of ministering to a sin-sick and broken world. Jesus demonstrated that teamwork is a highly effective approach to achieving goals and getting things done. On this principle, He carried out His mission and established His church.
Patrick Lencioni, in his book, The Advantage, comments on the value of having a leadership team, “few organizations invest nearly enough time and energy in making their leadership teams cohesive, and certainly not with the level of rigor that it requires and deserves.” Moreover, Lencioni acknowledges the widespread misuse and misunderstanding of the term “team” and endeavors to provide a precise definition of what he intends by a “cohesive” team. In his clarification, he emphasizes that such a team functions in close collaboration, fosters interactive dynamics, and thrives on mutual interdependence.
Illustrating this concept, consider a basketball team as an apt example. Such a team typically shares a common objective: winning the game. Like a successful basketball team, healthy and cohesive teams engage in robust interaction and maintain alignment around pursuing a shared goal.
Imagine what we could achieve if we all worked together towards the same goal. By building cohesive leadership teams in our churches, schools, and ministerial departments throughout our conference, we can more effectively fulfill our purpose – connecting people to an abundant life in Christ and preparing them for His soon return. Our united and aligned efforts would enable us to advance God’s kingdom together and make a lasting impact on those around us.
Ellen White shares this same principle of teamwork when she writes, “In counseling for the advancement of the work, no one man is to be a controlling power, a voice for the whole. Proposed methods and plans are to be carefully considered, so that all the brethren may weigh their relative merits and decide which should be followed.”
Our aspiration for organizational health transcends mere programmatic efforts; it represents a profound cultural transformation. Witnessing the tangible impact of this journey is truly exhilarating. We are united in this endeavor, and the positive changes are palpable within our entities that earnestly embrace and embody organizational health principles. As we navigate this transformative journey together, let’s pray for pastors, principals, department directors, conference office personnel, and ministry directors.
Stay tuned for my next article, where I will share what it takes to build a cohesive leadership team.
 See Matthew 16:18; Acts 1:8.
 Patrick Lencioni, The Advantage (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass), p. 20.
 Ibid., p. 21.
 Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 7 (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press), p. 259.
Featured in Northern Lights, January 25, 2024