Person-Centred Teams: A practical guide to
delivering personalisation through effective
Helen Sanderson and Mary Beth Lepkowsky
Jessica Kingsley Publishers £19.99
Church Times Bookshop £18
A RATHER clichéd acronym for TEAM is "Together Everyone Achieves
More". While achieving more is not the main message of the book by
Helen Sanderson and Mary Beth Lepkowsky, creating an environment
that emphasises "togetherness" while optimising the contribution of
individual team members is a main theme.
The writers offer a practical workbook with suggestions based on
a person-centred approach, which is considered good practice in
education, social-welfare, and well-being contexts. The
person-centred model offers valuable principles for those wanting
to explore the nuts and bolts of how people can work together in a
collaborative and relational way. Although not specifically written
for people in church team ministries, this text provides useful
tools for leaders wishing to facilitate more effective
The theory behind the approach, originally developed from the
work of the humanistic psychologist Dr Carl Rogers, is that
individuals fulfil their potential given the right environment. An
important tenet is that personal growth and fulfilment in life are
a basic human need, which involves social relationships.
With that in mind, the authors emphasise the importance of
identifying team roles based on an appreciation of an individual's
abilities and motivations, incorporating these in a shared team
vision, and collective values and purpose, and thus establishing
the basis for development of both the individual and the team.
A significant proportion of the book is devoted to helping team
members identify their values and motivations, as well as the
support that they might need from other team members to be
effective participants. The text is easy to read, providing case
studies as exemplars and reflective exercises, and posing
reflective questions that can be worked through.
While this book is helpful, the main audiences are those who
work within a variety of contexts, such as service-providers,
managers, practitioners, and students in the health and social-care
fields; so do not expect any theological insight into how people
None the less, here are fundamental practices that will be
useful to individuals who are new to team ministry, or who are keen
to work in a person-centred way.
The Revd Dr Sharon Prentis is Deputy Director for Research
and Development for the Salvation Army.