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I was talking with someone the other day about my experience with church planting. As I told my personal story, I kept using words such as “our” and “we”. Towards the middle of the conversation the person stopped me and asked, “Who’s ‘we’?” I was talking about me the whole time, but I confused him with my verbiage. I wasn’t trying to be confusing. It’s just a habit I’ve formed. I love teams and team-building and I’ve learned that developing a team vocabulary is a large part of encouraging healthy teams.
I cringe when I hear leaders use the words “I”, “me, and “my” when referring to their team, their church or organization. To me it always sounds so controlling, prideful, and arrogant. As an example, Ben Reed is our small groups pastor at Grace Community Church. He’s an amazing leader. I would give anything to have been where he is at his age when I was that same age. When I refer to him, I don’t say “He’s my small groups guy”. He’s not! He’s our small groups guy. I don’t want to portray to him or others that I control him. I would be limiting his potential if I refer to him in a possessive sense.
I understand it’s just semantics, but to me it’s an important one for leaders to think through. If we truly want to create a team environment, then we must have team vocabularies.
There are a few times when I use the personal words, such as: