Teams play a vital part in changing the world.  Leading these teams is equally as important.  Whether you are providing humanitarian relief, spear-heading a movement on campus, planting a brand new church, or mobilizing volunteers at your workplace, you must lead teams in order to have greater impact.

I remember when I got the opportunity to mobilize my church youth group to go on a mission trip to India. The church had never sent over 15 young adults to India before, but the team believed it could be done. We gained permission from church leadership, casted vision to the entire church, coordinated the details, and raised the funds to help everyone go that wanted to go.  

Photo Courtesy of Linson Daniel

Maranatha World Missions Orphanage — Photo Courtesy of Linson Daniel

After we returned from the trip, the team organized a charity dodgeball tournament to increase financial support to our orphanage.  We were able to raise approximately $3.5K during that event.  It was a milestone and an amazing experience for me and my team.  You can do this too! But you must make 4 paradigm shifts in order to energize your team of world changers:

Shift #1:  Be a leader not a manager

It starts with you.  Be a leader not a manager!  There are differences between the two, as follows:

  • The manager maintains; the leader develops.
  • The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.
  • The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust.
  • The manager imitates; the leader originates.
  • The manager does things right; the leader does the right thing.

Focus on developing yourself and your team.  People are your greatest asset, so always invest into them.  Inspire your team.  Allow your team to invent new ideas and strategies to accomplish goals — especially ideas that do not rely on money.  Motivate your team to work smart, not just work hard.

Do not waste time managing your team members’ everyday tasks.  Often this leads to mistrust and poor performance.  Seeing people like robots that need to be programmed does not create momentum.  However, treating people like leaders that have great potential creates explosive growth.

Help your team to become better than you! Be a leader worth following.


Shift #2:  Recruit people not roles

Teams are made up of people not roles.  Roles are created for the people on the team.  Often we get this backwards and we create a list of roles.  Instead make a list of people — bright, creative, risk-taking, innovative, and practical people you know.

While I was an engineer, one of my friends said something I will never forget.  “Who says the marketplace deserves the best and the brightest?  Why?… because the marketplace has money?  There are things in this world more precious than money…”

Photo courtesy of Ron Chan Photography

InterVarsity Red River Region Staff Team — Photo courtesy of Ron Chan Photography

Yeah, I knew that…  but it hit home.  My gifts do not have to be confined to the engineering world.  I started to dream.  I wanted to make a difference.  There are countless more out there like me… waiting for a vision worthy of their talents and gifts.  Recruit them!

Forget titles, roles, and organizational charts! Go, get the right people!


Shift #3:  Focus on strengths not weaknesses

Reality check!  Your team will not be good at everything!  As you inventory the collective gifts of your team, there will be glaring holes and weaknesses.  The temptation will be to spend countless hours shoring up your team’s weaknesses.  Bad move.  Why waste time working on weaknesses when you could spend time maximizing strengths?

Encourage your team to invest, grow, and master their gifts. I have each of my team members take Strengths Finders 2.0.  Then I have each create a personal development plan zeroing in on their strengths.  We use these plans to focus efforts on development so that their strengths go further.

Frame the team’s responsibilities within the context of their strengths.  Check out this chart that utilizes Strengths Finder 2.0 “Strength Themes”:





Discipline, Analytical, Input Empathy, Adaptability, Woo


Growth by 15% Growth by 15%


  • Growth by 15% of 150 is 173 students
  • Factor in 10% retention for new student on this specific campus
  • Reach about 250 new students on campus
  • Train current students to have 250 conversations
  • Attract students w/ interactive art displays
  • Situate interactive art displays in strategic locations on campus
  • Train current students to make more displays
  • Train current students to connect with new students using the displays


  1. Create a schedule that breaks down these conversations per day per person
  2. Report on this schedule every other day via email
  1. Agree on a rhythm of accountability via text messages/phone calls
  2. Report on overall energy, level of current student ownership, and fun moments with new students

Very different strengths, strategies, and oversight plans, but one defined goal.  One approach is clear, efficient, and measurable.  The other approach is creative, fluid, and energetic.  Both are geared toward strengths, and both have the possibility of working.

Maximize the strengths of your team members and you will see more goals met than missed!


Shift #4:  Delegate authority not tasks

Often leaders will give away tasks to their team but not the associated authority to accomplish it.  This can be extremely frustrating!  Delegate authority and ask your team to come up with tasks.  My staff tease me because I often say, “If it takes you less than 2 hours and costs us less than $200, then just do it… we’ll figure out the rest later.”

Teams become more productive when they don’t have to run everything through you.  Be OK with giving away authority.  It may drive your crazy initially, but it will prove to be multiplicative versus additive.  It takes your vision to the next level when you let others run with their ideas.

Your team becomes more competent and confident as you delegate responsibility AND authority.


If you have a dream, then don’t waste another moment managing another set of mundane tasks with no real purpose.  I encourage you to pursue your vision by putting together a team of like-minded individuals and leading them to make a difference in this world. There is much left to be accomplished and countless lives longing to be renewed. You are an everyday world changer.

Find your team, and make it happen. Start today!

Do these paradigm shifts make sense? What would you add to this list? Would you like to lead a team to make a difference? What prevents you from starting?