…the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:16
We just wrapped up another exciting college football playoff where the new champion was decided in the final one second of the game. Whether you’re a football fan or not, or even if your team was no where near the field that night like mine, imagine that moment: …the final second rolls off the clock…the coach is drenched with energy drink…players jump up and down…coaches pat each other on the back…fans are screaming and crying because their time and money invested wasn’t a total waste…the celebration has begun.
And in that moment, you often see a very emotional scene where the coach steps up to the microphone to thank his players, his team, his fans, maybe even his God. He does this because there’s a humility that comes in winning and success when one understands a very simple concept, that TEAM > Me (or “I am” if that part is really bothering you). Imagine the absurdity if when the game ends that the coach is the only one who jumps up and down, while the players and other coaches, even the fans make a quick exit. There is a shared experience and joy at the finish line in remembering the journey and realizing, like Aristotle said, the whole really is more than the sum of its parts. And also, if the coach is honest, there’s no way the team achieves that level without that collaboration.
I recently experienced a similar feeling when I had the privilege to go help lead worship in Seoul, South Korea. Most of us in ministry will understand the challenges that come from having to be away and missing the normal responsibilities of your work week. We know the old adage to be true that sometimes it’s a lot more work to be gone, lining up everything that needs to be done, than to be present and execute all of the things you do. I returned late on a Saturday night, but just in case I had any travel delays, I entrusted my teams to take care of Sunday responsibilities. Never have I had such a stress free trip knowing well-equipped teams (mostly that were in place when I came) were in place to do the work of the church and our worship ministry. When I returned on time, I had the privilege to attend a service at both of our campuses and see these teams do a wonderful job of serving “without me”. TEAM > Me
If that’s the case for you, then maybe it’s time to take a hard look at your systems. When you are considering everything there is to do and everything that has to be done, consider the following questions:
(1) What is something you do every week right now that God has equipped the body to do? Failure to allow the people God has brought to your church to grow through serving limits the potential of your teams and even your church (even if you can do it better).
(2) With your current responsibilities, what part of the body of Christ are you hindering from growing? There are people strategically gifted by God and equipped to serve on your teams. Your team roles are perfect for their wiring, their temperament, their gifting, and their development as a Christ follower (not to mention how God is going to shape them and teach them through serving).
(3) With each new job you delegate, what else could you accomplish with your increased time to minister in other areas? Imagine, fully equipped teams entrusted with running with some of the things that need to be done, and the potential that has to free you up to accomplish some of the things only you can do but never had the time and energy to attempt.
Apart from entrusting your teams, even if you reach a mountain top accomplishment, and achieved much, you were alone. Without equipping God’s people to do the work of God’s people, even when you accomplished your goals and celebrated your wins, you were celebrating all by yourself. Winning alone is never as fulfilling as winning with others, because in the long run, TEAM > Me.
For the body to be equipped and work properly…TEAM > Me.
For the body to grow…TEAM > Me.
For the deposits you make in people…TEAM > Me.
For the work God has called and placed you to do…TEAM > Me.
For God’s design for your ministry and the legacy you leave…TEAM > Me.
We are called and strategically placed to develop teams that help the body grow and build itself up in love. I have found no greater joy than well-equipped teams working together in unity for the Church and God’s Kingdom.