Over the years I have been involved in many leadership and team-building activities. In most of them I have learned some great principles and made some strong connections. One of my favorites was through a local college that brought your team to its outdoor obstacle course where you had to work together to solve problems and complete tasks.
We strategized, worked together, yelled at each other, and laughed a lot. That was a great day, and I only broke one rib!
I think there is great value in those types of team-building activities. But, over the years, I have come to realize one of the best ways to build unity in a group of people is to serve others together. Setting aside the agendas or needs of the job and focusing on helping others and doing it together has a way of breaking down many barriers and bringing us closer together on a level way beyond the daily grind and just getting work done.
When we set aside ourselves and serve someone else, we tap into the core of what we are made to do. In the Bible, Jesus was asked by the religious leaders of his time what the greatest commandment was and his response was:
“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 (NLT).
This wasn’t a new command from Jesus; he was reminding them that first we must love God and second, we must love our neighbor. One way we can do that is by serving those in need and, even better, serving alongside others.
I have had multiple opportunities to serve and help others, and some of the absolute best times I have had are when I’ve been able to do it alongside friends, family, or co-workers. Serving with others spreads the joy of doing good for others and it becomes a bonding experience between you. Not to mention, it often provides opportunity to talk and get to know one another at a level you likely would not experience in the workplace.
A day of serving with fellow teammates has produced not just better connections but also lifelong friendship and countless stories. Especially when serving those less fortunate than us. We believe the blessing is in the giving of our time, resources, and talents. However, I also believe the bigger blessing is in how it changes us and how it helps us form stronger relationships with those around us.
I am blessed to work for an organization that values servanthood and allows us paid time off to go out and serve others. But, honestly, now knowing what I do, I would (and have) willingly give up my normal time off to do it anyway alongside my team. I encourage you to try this out, find something that you and your team or family can do together, and see how serving others can bring all of you closer together. It’s a Win-win!