Six Lessons Team Rehab Taught Me About Church

As soon as I walk in the door, I am welcomed with a smile by Michelle. “Hi, Laurie! How was your weekend? It’s good to see you today!” One after another they greet me: Lance, Katie, Mike and Gaylord. They all know my name and treat me as if I am the most important person in the world.

No, it’s not Cheers. Nor is it the church. It’s Team Rehabilitation Physical Therapy- Beverly Hills Clinic. From a single clinic in 2001, Team Rehab has grown into a network of forty therapist-owned outpatient PT clinics in Metro Detroit and Illinois. Mike Gilbert is the clinic director, Michelle is the receptionist, Lance is my physical therapist and Katie, Mike and Gaylord are the PT techs.

For the past ten weeks Team Rehab professionals have worked on my right shoulder, which has a combination of tendinitis, impingement and slight arthritis. Nothing serious, just pesky because it affects the sports activities I enjoy.

I start with ten minutes on the arm bike, then progress to arm bands, light weights, pulleys and a Bodyblade. I even have to “scrub the floor” with a special pad to strengthen certain muscles. Lance does manual manipulation, and the sessions end with Ultrasound.

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I finished my physical therapy last Friday and will continue the exercises I was taught at home. However, I learned far more than how to improve the mobility of my shoulder. From Team Rehab’s example, I am learning how to do church more effectively.

Lesson #1 – It’s all About Relationships

Team Rehab knows that physical therapy is all about creating a welcoming atmosphere, getting to know patients as people and caring about their lives. Team Rehab’s website says, “Our mission is simply to be the best source of outpatient PT. By the best, we mean the clinics with the highest levels of patient satisfaction and the best objectively measurable outcomes. As far as possible we want our patients to enjoy therapy as well as getting clear improvements in their health.”

I always looked forward to rehab because the staff is friendly, courteous and fun! Plus, I think they were a bit intrigued to have a pastor as a patient. Katie went to school for advertising for six years but discovered it wasn’t for her. She likes being a PT tech because she wants to help others. We occasionally talk about church, and Katie keeps reminding me to take care of myself because I work too many hours.

Gaylord asks me to pray for his mother, who has been in intensive care for months with a serious illness. He tries to see her as much as possible, putting his own life on hold. Mike is a personal trainer in addition to working at Team Rehab. He patiently gave me a lesson in deer hunting techniques a few days ago.

Lance studied for many years to become a physical therapist, which now requires a doctoral degree. I am amazed at Lance’s knowledge and skill and am proud that he has been selected to start another clinic in the Detroit metro area. I feel as if I know all of these fine young people well and would be proud to be their mother.

  • The church is all about relationships as well. Creating a welcoming atmosphere and sharing radical hospitality is the front door of the church. Who wants to return to a church where people ignore them or are even mean at times? Guests experience the love of Jesus when we model that love.

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Lesson #2 – It’s All About Service

Lance emphasizes that Team Rehab is not about profit, it’s about service. If they meet the needs of their patients and do their job well, people will keep coming and will also tell others. Team Rehab’s CEO reminds clinic directors at monthly meetings that their only goal is to keep patients happy and do all they can to facilitate their healing.

To provide quality service, Team Rehab hires quality people, pays them well and provides for continuing education. Appointments are available between at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. to provide easy accessibility for patients who work. The clinic arranges free transportation when medically necessary. They also provide clear and regular communication with patients on their progress.

  • The church is also all about service. The church needs to be present to all people at all times, especially during significant life transitions such as birth, baptism, confirmation, marriage, major illness, unemployment, homelessness, family trauma and death.

Lesson #3 – It’s All About Empowerment

Team Rehab’s goal is to challenge patients to participate in their own healing by working hard at PT. They also empower patients to take care of themselves after completing therapy by continuing to do exercises at home.

In addition, Team Rehab empowers employees by giving autonomy to each individual clinic. As Lance prepares to open his own clinic, he attends seminars on how to manage staff and oversee operations. He is given freedom and funds to remodel the space and purchase exercise equipment. At the same time, Team Rehab provides business support in marketing, administration and finance so that the clinic owners, who are all therapists, can focus on quality and service.

  • Vital churches are permission-giving congregations where church members and staff are encouraged and empowered to dream and vision. Then they are blessed and set free to create new programs and ministries that align with the congregation’s core values and mission.

Lesson #4 – It’s All About Effectiveness

Team Rehab’s website affirms my own experience, “We work with our patients and their physicians to achieve superior results… We are committed to practicing evidence-based therapy. That means that we measure outcomes and change our treatment protocols to get the best results for our patients.” Clear improvements in health: that’s the bottom line for Team Rehab.

  • Would that all of our churches made holistic health and relevance their mission as well. Are we committed to discovering the needs of our communities and then finding creative, effective and life-giving ways to address those needs? Are we setting goals and seeking measurable outcomes?


Lesson #5 – It’s All About Continuous Improvement

Team Rehab’s website says, “We do not believe that we have achieved our mission yet, but we think our strategy, based on excellent quality and patient satisfaction, is gaining momentum.” Yesterday’s Detroit Free Press announced the thirteen companies that make up their 2015 Michigan Top Workplace Circle of Excellence. Team Rehabilitation is one of those companies and has been in the top five, four of four years. “Their high level of commitment to their patients defines the success of Team Rehabilitation.”

  • The kingdom of God is here, yet it has also not yet come. Is your church always seeking new and bold ways to share the gospel and reach more people with the love of Jesus?

Lesson #6 – It’s All About Invitation

Lance says that PT’s who are selected to start a new clinic need to prove effectiveness in providing customer satisfaction and getting referrals from physicians. Without referrals there is no growth, and without patients, there is no income. And without satisfied patients, there will be no one to invite others to try Team Rehab.

  • Are you equipping your congregation to invite others to church? Is your worship so compelling and your ministries so inspiring that church members can’t help but share their enthusiasm with friends, neighbors, family and colleagues?

To celebrate both Thanksgiving and the completion of my PT, I decided to say thank you last week by providing funds for the entire Team Rehab staff to enjoy a nice lunch together. I’m also ready to tell anyone I know that if they ever need physical therapy, Team Rehab is the best. Thank you, Team Rehab, for having my back!


3 thoughts on “Six Lessons Team Rehab Taught Me About Church

  1. How ironic. I have used the same physical therapists and technicians and found all you said so true. Your comparison to the church is so true. Thanks

  2. I think some professions draw the kind of people that are thoughtful, caring and compassionate. Ministry, medicine and education are at the top of the list. I found the physical therapists that I have encountered were professional and warm. My health, and comfort were as important to them as it was to me. Your analogies are right to the point. A healthy church shares healthy practices.
    Thank you, Laurie

  3. Due to two rotator cuff surgeries this year, I have used Team Rehab from late February until now. I use the facility at Telegraph and Maple, near my office, and have found the same exact attention to detail and friendliness at my location that Laurie has found in hers! Great people with a great message to their clients.

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