BEING PART OF THE TEAM
Pastor Vernon Giesbrecht
Teams are everywhere. They’re on the sports field, they’re in the marketplace, they’re in the concert hall. And, they’re in the church. In fact, the church is a team of teams, groupings of uniquely gifted people working together for a common purpose and vision. The Bible uses other pictures to depict the church: a body, a building, a community, a family, but let’s go with a “team”.
How a church team should operate was the Apostle Paul’s concern when he penned these words to the church in Philippi:
“Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:2-4)
He then goes on to cite Jesus as the supreme example of the consummate team member in what is known as the “Christ Hymn”. It is His life and attitude that we should imitate.
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11)
These verses have many applications. Here are a few. The church team knows its work belongs to God, not to individual team members. Members of this team tie their hearts to our Lord’s heart. They accept His purpose for their lives and for the church. Each member of a church team understands and embraces the vision and purpose of the organization. We state ours often. You see it on our website and on every Sunday bulletin: “Love God, Love Others, Serve the Community (the World)”.
Members of church teams appreciate each other’s mixture of gifts and seek to exercise them for the good of the church and for the glory of God. Church team members are also willing to live with some discomfort when differences collide. However, they honor, respect, and seek to remain unified in purpose, practicing the humility Christ modeled. Finally, although church teams are committed to results, its members are also committed to each other. Leaders love and protect followers; followers are loyal and respectful to leaders. They defend each other from gossip and slander. They rejoice when teammates grow and achieve God’s purposes for the team – the church.
These things are easy to say but hard to live. However, it is to this that Christ calls us. Perhaps, His call has been no clearer than during this pandemic and the prospect of what ministry will look like as restrictions are reduced. When we each give our best for the team, with the help of the Holy Spirit, the power of synergy is released. I have always been amazed at the power of draft horses at work. They are impressive animals, as anyone would agree who has visited the Lorain County Fair. One of these horses can pull up to four tons – 8000 pounds! How many tons do you think two of these horses can pull together? The logical answer would seem to be 8 tons. You would wrong. Two of these draft horses harnessed together can pull 22 tons – 44,000 pounds! This is the power of synergy, the power of teamwork.
This can be the experience of any church team – the Trinity team – when the result of individuals working together is greater than the sum of their independent efforts. So, let’s be a team. Let’s be people who have the same mission in life, who pull our weight, who know our roles, and who do it all for God’s glory.