Tag Team


My friend Seth introduced me to WWF when we were in elementary school.  I’m not talking about the World Wildlife Federation.  I’m talking about classic wrestle mania–Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Superfly Jimmy Snooka and Hacksaw Jim Dugan.  Absolutely classic.  Look, I know big time wrestling is a joke and terribly fake but when I was 9 I thought it was the greatest thing ever so just back off!

The best WWF wrestling matches were tag team matches because these superstar wrestlers would team up together and battle it out.  When one guy would get cracked over the head with a chair, the other guy would step in a bail him out.  That’s some friendship right there.  We would watch that stuff for hours and then reenact it when it was over.  We didn’t have DVR back then so you had to replay the action yourself.

I know it’s crazy but I’ve been thinking about tag team matches lately.  You see, I’ve realized some things about myself.  When I was in my early 20s, I basically thought I was awesome at just about every aspect of student ministry.  Over the last few years I’ve come to see that I’m definitely not awesome at some areas of student ministry.  It was a big step for me to admit that I’m not an A+ at everything.  Maybe you can relate.

For the last 6 years I’ve worked closely with a co-worker and friend named Jon.  Jon is essentially amazing at everything I’m terrible at and not so hot at some of the things I’m good at.  We’re dead opposite in every way–gifting, wiring, personality, and guitar skills–he’s amazing and I suck unless there’s a capo involved.

What I’ve come to see is that together we are a pretty phenomenal team.  When we are united, we’re good at everything we need to be good at.  We are capable of high caliber leadership when we are on the same page.  We’re like a good ole’ classic WWF tag team.

I’ve noticed that many strong leaders don’t work well with others.  I’ve seen this sort of thing over and over in churches and businesses.  Strong leaders usually possess a compelling vision, which is awesome and necessary, but often struggle to work well with or empower others.  In addition, they often do not recognize or acknowledge where they are weak.  The thing is:  everyone is weak.  None of us is gifted in every area.  You might be a fabulous speaker but I bet you are a D+ at organization.  You may be able to create amazing systems but I bet you struggle with envisioning the future.  We are all finite and only capable of awesomeness in a few skills.

A breakthrough moment happened for me when I realized that together Jon and I could be an A+ leadership team but alone I would only be a B.  It was a critical moment for me.  Like most of us, I have aspirations of greatness.  I want to do phenomenal work and build a successful student ministry but I’ve realized that I’m not capable of this on my own.  I would rather work together and be great than work alone and be decent.  Because of this, I’m all about tag team.

My guess is that there is someone in your professional or ministry environment like this.  You have one set of strengths and weaknesses and they possess the opposite.  There is potential for greatness in teamwork but the gatekeeper is humility.  If you want to part of something great, realize that you’ll never get there on your own.  The truth is, if you make everything about you, your organization will only be a strong as your weakest weakness.  Tag team may just be the key to moving forward and accelerating toward greatness.


image credited to Greg O’Connell via Flickr

Aaron Buer

Author: Aaron Buer

A little about me: I’ve been a student pastor for 12 years and currently serve as the student ministries pastor at Ada Bible Church in Grand Rapids, MI. Ada Bible is a multi-site church of about 9,000. Most of my time is devoted to leading my amazing team, writing curriculum, teaching, and trying to navigate the challenges of multi-site church. I absolutely love my job and the people I am blessed to serve with. I’m primarily a family guy. My wife and I have five incredibly awesome and unique kids. Most of my free time is devoted to them. When I can find time for me, I love beach volleyball, writing, fishing, video games or a good book.

1 thought on “Tag Team”

  1. So very true, Aaron! You guys make a great team. A lot of kids are being affected right now and into the future because of your team work. Think of all the future families that will have Christ in their lives because you both recognized your weaknesses and strengths. God bless you and Jon and your families!!

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