I had the privilege of spectating at the SAE AREO EAST this past weekend. Now you might be asking yourself what exactly was that? It is a collegiate engineering aeronautics competition. Our daughter’s team, CU Flight Crew from Cedarville University was competing in the advanced class. It was there I heard a comment from one of the organizers at the award ceremony. He said, “In today’s engineering world individuals rarely achieve greatness without a team!” The events of those few days reminded me how important it is for followers of Jesus to work together on His team.
Now if you are like me, when you hear the mention of team, you think of a sports team. Yet life is filled with all kinds of different teams ranging from Parents to Collegiate Engineering Competitions. The local church that every follower of Jesus is called to be a part of is also a team. The Bible is filled with admonition to Jesus followers on the importance of team participation. I was reminded of a passage that is often referred to as the “Great Commission” in which Jesus gave instructions to his disciples which still applies to us today. The Jesus given task was to “go and make disciples of all nations…” Matthew 28:19a The implication is both on the individual and also on the community (team) of believers. The New Testament is also filled with assorted “One Another challenges” that again remind us the importance of team. The author of Hebrews challenges us to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24. Jesus challenged us this way “A new commandment I give you, “Love One Another….” John 13:34 The Apostle Paul reminded the believers in Rome that “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them:” Romans 12:6a It you take the time to study the gospel accounts you will see that even Jesus ministered with a team. It was also this team (his disciples) that would go on to change the world. The challenge is, it is challenging to work on a team. Yes there are different personalities. There are different view points along with a myriad of other challenges. This often leads to thinking that it would be easier to just do it ourselves.Yet, if we do, we miss the blessing of multiplying our service for Jesus by tapping into other gifted individuals. The organizer had touched on a Biblical truth that “Teams, not individuals, in today’s world realize greatness.”
What I experienced this weekend is that teams can accomplish that which seems impossible. The CU Flight Crew (Cedarville University) designed, and built a Remote Control airplane that successfully competed with other collegiate teams from around the world. They had spent months in design, building and finally in working out the kinks of their design so that they could compete this past weekend. And even during the competition the team would face unexpected challenges that needed to be solved on the spot. The end result is that they placed fourth overall in the competition missing third by only three points. They also took second and third place in other specific categories. Their sacrifice and commitment as a team over the past months paid off.
So how does this relate to the follower of Jesus Christ. You need to get off the bench and on the field of serving Jesus. It has been said that in the church of Jesus Christ 20% of the people are doing 80% of the work. If this is anywhere near true it means that three out of every four people in a local church are not an active part of the team! Imagine a sports team with only 25% of the starting players on the field? Basketball, for instance, would simply be a one on one! You could be the missing team member that could make the difference in your church.
Can I encourage you to be part of what God is doing in your community by joining your church team? You can start by being regular in attendance each week. But do not stop there; you need to get plugged in. There are a variety of ways that Jesus can use you to touch others. Let me warn you in advance it will not be easy being part of a team for all the reasons mentioned above. But I can tell you it will be worth it when you hear the commendation from Jesus, “Well done Good and faithful servant!”
-Pastor Joe Parkinson