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Teams That Thrive


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About the Author

Ryan T. Hartwig (PhD, University of Colorado) teaches small-group, organizational and leadership communication at Azusa Pacific University, where he serves as associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In addition, he frequently speaks to groups of pastors and ministry leaders regarding senior leadership teams, teamwork in ministry, and small-group ministry design and leadership. His scholarship has been published in theJournal of Applied Communication Research and Group Facilitation: A Research and Applications Journal, and presented at the annual meetings of the National Communication Association (NCA), the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA), and the Rocky Mountain Communication Association (RMCA). He and his wife Jill have three daughters and one son and live in the Los Angeles area. Warren is an ordained minister through the Christian and Missionary Alliance, having served as a church planter, associate pastor or lead pastor for fourteen years. Warren and his wife Michelle live just outside New York City, and have two grown children.


"I wish I had read this book at the beginning of my ministry career! Teams That Thrive is an incredible resource to help you and your team rethink how you lead. Packed with outstanding research, helpful tips, practical wisdom and thoughts from expert commentators, this book is the how-to resource you need to move your team (and your church) from simply surviving to thriving."--Jenni Catron, church leader and author of Clout
"In this rigorous and readable treatment of church leadership teams, Warren Bird and Ryan Hartwig show how shared leadership and an effective team at the top not only ensure high-functioning church operations, but they also provide the model for a thriving congregation and a healthy community culture. Teams That Thrive provides practical solutions and inspiring wisdom to those who would elevate their team leadership capacity in ways that genuinely contribute to effective, purposive and growing church communities."--Ruth Wageman, author of Senior Leadership Teams
"Every time I meet with pastors, the subject of leadership comes up at some point in the conversation. The struggle for all churches is to build new leaders who are unified around a common vision. This is a needed book to help us build better teams and better churches."--Ron Edmondson, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church
"Teams That Thrive is an incredibly practical guide for church leadership teams. Dr. Bird and Dr. Hartwig understand that pastors don't need another book on leadership theory; they need practical tools to implement collaborative leadership in the context of day-to-day ministry. That's exactly what Teams That Thrive delivers."--Geoff Surratt, pastor, coach to church planters, and author of Ten Stupid Things That Keep Churches from Growing
"At Saddleback we've shared leadership from the beginning.While it's not always been easy, it's absolutely been worth it. This insightful book, with its strong research, real-life stories andpractical how-tos, makes it easier for you to build a strong, thriving senior leadership team."--Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church and author of The Purpose Driven Life and The Purpose Driven Church"
"I'm a lay leader serving on the leadership team of a church of 225 and this fast-moving book has a lot of practical ideas and relevant application for us."--Ron Keener, former editor, Church Executive
"Rarely does a book debut in the church arena that has a strong combination of understanding, analysis, solutions, research, biblical basis and real life usability. My friends Warren Bird, Ryan Hartwig and their team have produced just that in Teams That Thrive. Churches will be stronger because teams will be healthier and more productive, enhancing the kingdom of our Lord. Every leader in your church needs a personal copy of this book."--Samuel R. Chand, leadership consultant,, author of Cracking Your Church's Culture Code
"Church leaders talk big about the priesthood of all believers, but too many don't know how to live that out on the leadership team level. This excellent book shows how."--Derwin Gray, founding pastor, Transformation Church, Indian Land, SC, and author, Limitless Life
"The most effective churches in America today have strong leaders who surround themselves with a smart team of leaders. Finally, a practical book on leadership that helps churches develop the right kind of team to lead their church forward. This book is long overdue, greatly needed and high on my recommendation list."--Jim Tomberlin, founder, MultiSite Solutions, author, Better Together
"As someone who is passionate about helping teams become more productive and healthy, I strongly recommend Teams That Thrive. It draws out best practices and principles from hundreds of leadership teams, pulls together top marketplace research and then illustrates them with stories from churches at every level. I encourage you not to simply read it yourself, but to read it and work through it with your team. It will make you better. It will help you thrive."--Larry Osborne, pastor of North Coast Church and author of Sticky Teams
"In Teams That Thrive, Ryan and Warren provide the church with valuable insight from research rooted in biblical principles to create a picture of team leadership that is sound and scriptural. Whether your church is two hundred or two thousand, whether your team is two or twenty-five, this book will be an essential resource."--Ed Stetzer, LifeWay Research,
"We know that we're supposed to like working in teams, but how many of us actually get excited when we hear the word teamwork? It isn't that we hate working with others, it's just that more often than not teams seem to make things harder, not easier. Fortunately, in Teams That Thrive, Ryan and Warren promise it doesn't have to be that way. Read this book and start creating teams that work!"--Greg Surratt, founding pastor of Seacoast Church
"Serious leaders are serious about their teams because something extraordinary happens when a team thrives, something muchgreater than the sum of its parts. Teams That Thrive is an unusual blend of spirit and practice. It is fresh, deep and eminently helpful!"--NancyOrtberg, author of Lessons in Non-Linear Leadership"
"I'm a better leader with a healthier leadership team because of the principles outlined in this book. In Teams That Thrive, Ryan and Warren have given all of us an accessible roadmap for high performance leadership teams in any church context."--Chris Lewis, lead pastor of Foothill Church
"What's essential and what's superfluous? What should we tackle head-on and what should we detour around? How do we course correct when we hit trouble? How do we keep momentum when we have it? From a strong mythbuster start to a next-best-step finish, this book is a one-of-a-kind resource for teams. Spoiler alert: help is here."--Kem Meyer, former executive team member and communications director at Granger Community Church,
"I can't think of a better, more needed topic thanTeams That Thrive.The ability to build a culture of collaboration and team leadership is crucialtoanyone's effectiveness in ministry. For years, Warren Bird has been a go-toexpert for pastors wanting to learn how to do things better, and here he teams well with university professor Ryan Hartwig to pull together top research and great examples."--Dino Rizzo, executive director of the Association of Related Churches, author ofServolution"
"The daily life of running a church ministry is all about teams.How are they doing? Are they growing? How do we get new folks on teams?Teams That Thrivehelps us to answer these questions withsolid research, stories and examples, and to form and maintain great teams."--David Fletcher, executive pastor at theEvFreeChurch of Fullerton, California, founder, author of several books, includingCrisis Leadership"
"Teams That Thriveis about the work that leaders do to build high performance teams and the things that are keeping them from it. If your team embodies the disciplines in this book, you'll be well on your way to a team experience that will not only change your organization but will ultimately change you!"--Josh Whitehead, executive pastor of Faith Promise Church"
"This practical book is full of tips and tools that church leadership teams can use to become better and to increase in impact. Teams That Thrive will be a great help to my own team as we help church leadership teams get unstuck."--Tony Morgan, founder and chief strategic officer of the Unstuck Group, author of Take the Lid Off Your Church
"Teams That Thrive is especially helpful for pastors who lead a staff and want the staff to function as a team rather than as independent staff members who run in their own lane and rarely collaborate. Running a staff team that succeeds takes intentionality and hard work. This book helps spot areas of focus that will improve the pastor's leadership and the team's performance."--David Whiting, Baptist Bulletin, September-October 2015
"Researchers and practitioners Ryan Hartwig and Warren Bird studied churches of various sizes and traditions throughout the United States that have learned to thrive under healthy team leadership. Using church examples, they present their discoveries here, culminating in five disciplines that will enable your team to thrive. Their book is a great coaching tool for senior leadership teams struggling to thrive, and a helpful resource for teams doing well but wanting to do even better."--Facts Trends, August/September 2015
"I would recommend this book to any team that is struggling to grow their capacity and increase their effectiveness."--Mennonite Brethren Herald, July 16, 2015

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