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Joanne Cortes serves as the Defined Contribution Plan Specialist in the NAD Retirement Plan and as a volunteer lay pastor at New Hope SDA Church in Fulton, Maryland. Joanne and her husband, Pastor Jose Cortes Jr, have two sons, Jose III and Joel.    

Alfredina M. Coxaj is a loving wife of a pastor and devoted mother of two pre-schoolers. She also enjoys serving the Lord and working for Him in ministry.

Elena Sandoval is happily married to Pastor Tony. They minister to three Hispanic churches south of Atlanta in the Georgia-Cumberland Conference. Elena is a stay-at-home mom of two young adorable children: Juan Felipe and Victoria Elena.

Building Your Team
A   What is team building?
      Team building is an ongoing process that brings members together to create an effective
      team. This can include a wide variety of activities that can help a team develop unity,
      problem-solve, and improve their team performance in order to accomplish their vision.   

B    How do you create a balanced team?
      1.  Bathe the process in prayer recognizing your great need of God’s guidance and God’s willingness to direct your ministry.
      2.  In addition to selecting people who are each spiritual and committed, your ministry team should include people with the following gifts/characteristics:
          a)  visionary             d)  diverse in age
          b)  organized/detailed   e)  diverse in ethnicity/race
          c)  creative                f)  diverse in gender (where applicable)

C   How can team building help ministerial spouses?
  1. It helps you feel a part of something bigger.
  2. You feel that you belong to a group with people similar to you.
  3. You are able to share your experiences and learn from other experiences.
  4. You feel important by contributing in making the team a success.
  5. Encourages members to be their best.
  6. Provides leadership skills.

D   What makes a team effective?
      The characteristics of an effective team can be summed up as an acrostic, THRIVES:
    Trust: The team is characterized by trust. Members avoid talking behind another person’s back. Trust creates a unique bond between team members which leads to rapport, solidarity and efficiency.

    Harmony: The team knows there will be discussions, disagreements, and sometimes conflicts. These are treated as part of a healthy team, and no animosity is harbored and taken home after meetings.

    Respect: The team shows respect for the opinions and ideas of members. Everyone is encouraged to share viewpoints. No one is afraid of sharing an idea.

    Inclusive: The team is sensitive to different ages, ethnic groups, genders, and ideas. Members enjoy creating new relationships. They have good team spirit among members.

    Visionary: Members understand their purpose as part of the team. The group keeps the ministry vision always in mind and does everything to achieve it.

    Encouraging: All team members work together to achieve their vision. They encourage each other and are willing to help out when needed. No one is more valuable than another.
    Synergy: When team members rise above personal ambitions to focus and collaborate on their pre-determined mission, values, goals and objectives, a God-blessed synergy results.      
E   Team Building Activity Suggestions
     Have activities that are available to your leadership team and some others for all the ministerial spouses within your territory including parents of young children, male spouses and the handicapped (where applicable) so that all ms are invited to be a part of the ministerial spouse team.

     As well, ministerial spouses who desire to assist their pastor spouses in building team spirit within their local congregations could use some of these activities.

     1.   Prayer partners 
           Each interested ms will be put in contact with another member so that they can support each other through prayer. These partners can be changed monthly or quarterly so that ms can get acquainted with one another.

     2.   Quarterly on-going prayer chains
           Once a quarter ms get together to share how Jesus has worked in their lives and to thank Him and share petitions so that all bring it before God as a united group that trusts God. Spouses can be encouraged to pray for the members of their churches and or for those within their sphere of influence.

     3.   Reading clubs
Encourage district reading groups where ms can get together to discuss the books that they are reading. (Suggestion: that every other book have a spiritual base.

     4.   Healthy lifestyle activities
           Incorporate into ministerial spouse gatherings, activities that will promote better health such as exercise routines, healthy cooking classes

     5.   Outreach / acts of compassion activities such as water giveaways
           Nothing builds better teams than hands-on training. Don't wait until you think your team members are "ready." Get into the community today by giving away water on a hot day. Gather your group and divide them into teams. Give each team a cooler loaded with ice and water. You may want the team members to wear church t-shirts so everyone will know who they are. Locate your teams at four-way stops or intersections. Use poster boards and black markers to announce "free water." Give a water bottle to anyone who stops and asks about the giveaway, explaining to them that the water is a gift from your church. This fun community-minded activity really builds team spirit.

     6.   A fun competition such as a picture hunt
Gather your group together and divide everyone into teams. Give each team a picture list for a scavenger hunt. The pictures might include, for example, a lady in a red shirt or a boy with a baseball hat on. Send every group out with their digital cameras and a list. Teams will learn to work together to find the items on the list and get the right pictures. Give the teams a time deadline. (Those not returning by then will be disqualified.) Whoever has the most pictures that match the items on the list will be the winning team.

F   Websites for Team Building Activities