Teamwork: Getting the Job Done


Are you a team player? Or are you a control freak? Does your individualism or perfectionism get in the way of teamwork?

We’ve all seen teamwork’s amazing results on the football field, basketball court, and baseball field, but how about in your church, at your job, and in your home?

We have had the privilege recently of working on a video project for our local church association conference. It has taken quite a few people and many man-hours to video tape, participate on-camera, edit, polish, critique and re-mix, just to do a 10-12 minute DVD. And no one person can take credit for the finished product. It took teamwork.

Teamwork takes not only hours of time, when sometimes any one of us would rather just “do-it-myself”. But effective, God-pleasing teamwork takes grace, patience, kindness, understanding and willingness to compromise. It also involves faith in team members – in their abilities, integrity and character. And it takes unity of purpose and direction.

In His prayer for the disciples in John 17:11b, Jesus prayed that His followers would be a team:

“Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.”

This theme of unity among followers of Christ was also spoken of by the Apostles Paul:

“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Eph. 4:3-5 (Paul)

In 1 Corinthians chapter 12, Paul compares the church to a physical body that has many parts, yet all the parts are necessary and work together in perfect harmony. No one part is better than or more important than another, and teamwork is essential for the proper functioning of the body. All the spiritual gifts given to the body were for the whole body, not just he person chosen to deliver or operate in a specific gift.

Jesus also called us to teamwork with Him in Matthew 11:29-30:

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.   For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

This principle of yoked teamwork proves itself in the world of nature, as with oxen teams: two oxen, yoked together, can pull more than double the weight that one ox can pull alone.

Teamwork allows for the “learning curve”. Hopefully, as we grow, we are learning how to be better team players and giving grace for immaturity and lack of experience in our teammates, as they also grow and learn.

There are marriages and families where teamwork is missing. Sadly, there are many Christian marriages/families which fall apart because members are not pulling together, each person wanting his/her own way and not willing to submit to Christ or to each other.

Often, individual churches in the church at large are not pulling together. Jealousies, self-concerns, superiority or inferiority complexes, and controlling spirits hinder the work of Christ on earth.

In a world where teamwork and unity of purpose are so needed, in order for the kingdom of God to affect the culture around us, Satan often distracts believers from the real work of faith, drawing them off by petty differences or selfish ambition.

A friend from Kentucky forwarded to me a message by Pastor Ken Klaus from a radio broadcast of “The Lutheran Hour”. The message included an excellent example of what teamwork, operating in faith can do.

“The cause of Christ cannot be accomplished in retreat and the world can never be turned upside down for Jesus when God’s workers are wracked by retreat, defeat, indecision, and indecisiveness.

Will the negatives, the naysayers, the re-interpreters of God’s salvation have the final word? Will Christianity leave the battlefield for men’s souls without ever having engaged the enemy? God grant that not be the case. May He bless those who are willing to come together to take a stand; who are willing to take a stand like . . . like the friends of Herman Ostry who lived near Bruno, Nebraska. From what I was told, a number of years ago Herman purchased a piece of property and put up a barn. Things went well until the nearby creek flooded and put the floor of Herman’s new barn under 29 inches of water. Those of us who hail from the city may not know this, but 29 inches of water on your barn floor is not a good thing.

Inspecting the mess, Herman joked to his family that if they only had enough people, they probably could lift the barn and carry it to dryer footings. Herman’s son, Mike, took him seriously. Using his calculator, Mike estimated the barn’s weight at 19,000 lbs.; further, he guesstimated that in order to move the barn they would need 344 people who could lift 55 pounds each. 344 people seemed a doable number.

Mike moved forward in faith and devised a web of steel tubing which he nailed, bolted, and welded to the inside and outside of the barn. On June 30th Herman had his 344 volunteers – 344 people ready to lift that barn and move it. Herman shouted, “One, two, three — lift!” To everyone’s astonishment, the barn went up. Then, moving as one, they, with shuffling steps, took that barn 143 feet, uphill, and three minutes later placed it on its new foundation.

A few people, committed to a cause went forward in faith and made a change.”

It took both faith and teamwork to accomplish what was impossible for one man’s family working alone, but committed teamwork got the job done.

David and I have learned through 33 years of marriage how important teamwork is, and how important the other elements are to that teamwork: grace, patience, kindness, understanding, willingness to compromise, and faith in each other’s abilities, integrity and character. Both in our individual and personal challenges, we are in this together – equally yoked, pulling the plow as a team.

How about you, are you a team player? Gotta go now, David and I are doing yard-work this afternoon – as a team.

©2012, Marcy Alves

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About Marcy

I love my Father-God. Together we are walking through a season of my life where I am standing with him against cancer. He is my strength and trust. As one of his daughters, my passion is to share his love with others in practical, everyday illustrations and insights.

Posted on September 12, 2012, in Christian Growth, Follow Me, Reflections and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. And every team needs a head coach. ONE Head Coach…

    Thanks, Marcy. Good article!

  2. As always, you’ve done a really nice job on this post. We ARE a team! You’re my favorite blogger too.

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