Teamwork

It is such a joy
     to work with this team.
I pray that it’s real,
     and not just a dream.
Yes, there are times
     that I work the day through.
But times I take Susan
     and go to the zoo.
The freedom I have
     is all built on trust.
It’s not just important,
     it’s really a must.

As I look around
     at these gals and guys.
To have a great team
     should be no surprise.
They all are quite gifted
     in doing their part.
The thing that is special,
     is they serve from the heart.
No idea’s better
     just because of a name.
We want to be servants
     not seeking our fame.

The thing that’s surprising
     and really quite sad.
This type of teamwork
     is rare, like a fad.
If you think it’s passing,
     as fads often do.
Consider the value
     of this team to you.
We do our best work,
     or so it would seem.
When we work together
     and act like a team.

To seek good for others
     above all our own.
Is the life of a servant
     that Jesus has shown.
To not be afraid
     to do what it takes.
Whether lofty or low,
     no difference it makes.
It is such a blessing
     when help I can give.
The joy is compounded
     when this way we live.
©

As I was finishing up the cleaning of the church building tonight and thinking about all the people who help and encourage me, God gave me this poem. I share it in honor of the Deer Run team who have made me feel like a valuable part of what God is doing through each of us. I pray that God continues to pour out His blessing on the work that He is doing through Deer Run.

In prayer,
Tom

A Team That Works

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” 
Philippians 2:3-4

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concept of team and how it relates to the church body in general and occupational ministry specifically.  It seems like “team” is a popular buzz-word in many ministry circles lately, but it appears to mean different things to different people.  I think if God were to  use the word team to describe a group of people doing ministry together then perhaps the above verses from Philippians would be how He would do it.  If you’re familiar with the passage, you know it goes on to say we should have the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus!  God’s call is for us to voluntarily give ourself up for the sake of the team, not have the team give us up for their sake — there is a huge difference between those two things.

I’ve been blessed these past six months to work with a group of people doing ministry together that overall seems to get this team concept.  I noticed a while back, as an event was conducted quite successfully, that those leading were very quick to give credit to all who had a part in the event.  It made me think that perhaps that is a good definition, or sign, of a genuine team — a deliberate effort to give credit to all who do the work. 

On the other hand, I’ve also been part of a ministry group that liked to use the word team to describe the staff but it didn’t feel anything like this.  In fact, the word team wasn’t used as a vehicle for giving credit rather it became a means for taking credit!  The “lower ranking” members of the “team” were to do the work while the “higher ranking” members took all the credit.  This attitude seems to miss the entire point of the Philippians passage as Jesus, the highest ranking person of all, sacrificed everything in order that the lowest of all would receive honor. 

Do you suspect you might be part of a team that really isn’t a team at all?  First, examine your role on the team.  Are you focused on giving credit or taking it?  Perhaps the team member that needs to change is you!  When, and only when, your attitude is the same as that of Christ Jesus, look at the leadership of the “team”.  Are they seeking to give credit to others or take the credit for themselves?  How would God have you be the light and example in that setting?  Sometimes it is very difficult to remember that God calls us to live faithfully regardless of how right or wrong the people over you, around you, or under you happen to be.

A team that works is really only possible when it is fully surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in everything.  I don’t know who said it first but I’ve heard it often, “It is incredible what God can accomplish through a group of people when that group of people is not concerned about who gets the credit.”

I pray that the Deer Run team that I work with will always live and act as a real team and that you also would make every effort, wherever you are, to be a part of a team that works as you focus on giving credit to each one who does their part.