The host of returning players caused everyone to look forward to a state championship. It did not happen. Why? The team started playing as a group of superstars and glory hogs. If my memory serves me correctly, they lost their first eight games of the new season.
Churches sometimes duplicate this failure. Pastors do not work with the people. The people do not work with the pastor. Individuals within the church strike out on their own. Sometimes, even in churches, teamwork is absent.
Absence of teamwork, in churches, may have several causes. Sometimes the pastor is at fault. Pastors can be guilty of being suspicious of people, carrying pain from a previous place of ministry, not wanting to take the time to build a team, seeking to get self-praise rather than God praise, being a control freak, or being a dictator.
Sometimes the church is at fault. Churches can be guilty of allowing long held division to exist, being suspicious of pastors, allowing one or two people to control things, not having good systems in place, or being stuck in neutral.
Jesus ordained that the church be a team. “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.” (I Cor. 12:12) There is not a better picture of a team than the human body. The human body cooperates, compliments, and is beautifully coordinated.
Why does teamwork work? Let me share several reasons that come to mind. First, teamwork promotes ownership. All members of a team must take ownership, or the vision will not move forward.
If a vision belongs to one man it will be a one-man show. One man may generate the vision, but it is imperative that all members take ownership of the vision.
Teamwork promotes fresh ideas. When all the members feel shared ownership of the vision they will all feel the need to contribute ideas and input. I was watching a football game some weeks ago when the coach shared that a player had introduced a fresh idea. That is teamwork!
Teamwork draws from the unique gifting of the team members. On football teams, for instance, not every player is a quarterback. Each player contributes where he is gifted. A quarterback would face a tough job if he did not have lineman to protect him.
Teamwork promotes trust. Every member must trust the coach’s leadership. The coach must trust the members to do their job. A good team is a group that works independently but also interdependently.
In Cor. 12 Paul identifies the importance of trust. Paul says, “If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,’ is it therefore not of the body?” (vs. 15) “If the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,’ is it therefore not of the body?” (vs. 16)
The body (church) is a team and that is the way Jesus envisioned it. May we celebrate the victory that comes with teamwork!