Much has been written about ‘Team.’ Our ability to work as part of a team has been understood to be critical as a factor of our success.
Definition of Team: A group of people that work together toward a common goal.
The Wonder of ‘Team’!
The dynamics of teamwork achieve great results, bring unity and synergy and can result in tremendous personal empowerment and development. There is a massive focus today on coaching, mentoring and developing the team spirit at every level of human activity.
Essentially, ‘team’ is about results and cohesiveness – working together and getting the job done. You cannot underestimate the power and value of working together as part of a team. Hospitals, workplaces, industry, school, emergency services, social groups of every type need and value team membership and participation.
Nothing highlights the great value of team more than contrasting it with the internal focus of individuals doing things in isolation, or as ‘loners’. In teams, people tend to have greater vision, and because of the support and encouragement, take greater risks. Such risk-taking and competitiveness results often in greater accomplishment.
With teams, people tend to stay focused longer. Where there is failure, because of the comradery, rise to the challenge quickly to attempt great things again. No surprise then that Church sees the results of team and ventures to incorporate it into its own values. We do however live in a tension of needing to have teams (cleaning, coffee, etc) but when it comes to prophetic ministry, things are different.
The problem with teams
Teams can at times be convinced of their invincibility – and when failure comes it can result in massive disillusionment and blame shifting. Should we really be focusing on teams as an expression of how we work together in the Church, and also in prophetic ministry?
Is there a better option? There is an alternative and radical answer to the way we work together as a team…
The biblical focus of teams – There isn’t one!
Scripture records one or two instances of teamwork, that is, people working together with a common objective, the most notable being the team of oxen that were driving the plough that Elisha was working with when Elijah gave Elisha his mantle!
What about the relationship that Jesus had with the disciples, wasn’t that an expression of teamwork? On the surface of things, it looks like it was, but it was actually something far greater.
One of the problems with teamwork is that at times the team can become an end in itself. A radical rethink is needed here. Teams that exist for themselves take away the element of choice for the individual with people feeling a responsibility to continue with something that is floundering because people are depending on them. They can become hostage to a failing vision by reason of coercion and legalism.
God likes us working together, having a shared and common vision. The liberating truth is that God works in us and through us to accomplish His Will. He empowers, provides, cares and calls us to be a part of the things that He is doing.
He is the initiator and we joyfully cooperate with His Will and call on our life but a single truth dominates everything we do; nothing we can do will make Him approve of us more, or make Him love us more. And more amazingly it works the other way too – nothing we can do will make Him disapprove of us or love us less. Everything we have is because of His great Grace and His glorious Son, Jesus.
So what is the answer to ‘Team?
There are alternative and radical answers to the way we work together as a team…
The answer is in the DNA…
Where can you take risks, but be encouraged that when things go wrong, or you encounter significant adversity, to pick up the pieces and start again?
What way of working together attracts God’s blessing and is a complete expression of His blessing for mankind that is seen as early as the opening days of creation?
The clue to the answer starts with God’s initiative, ‘sonship’;
- For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Rom 8:14-17)
- But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (Gal 4:4-7)
- Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love, he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. Eph 1:3-6
Sonship is the very start of the journey, but the final answer to what God sees as the fuller and fuller picture of team is FAMILY.
God puts us in a family. It is not competitive, driven, task-focused or legalistic. We want to do things together because we want to do the things that please Him and bring pleasure to Him. It is a place where we are there for one another giving support, encouragement and real practical help no matter what, or how terrible the circumstance.
God’s family is the greatest picture of the team, but not all teams are God’s wonderful family.
We corporately long for God’s glory and power to be demonstrated in the earth through the gospel. The great commission is our mission as a family, and together, Jesus is the overwhelmingly magnificent obsession of everything we do.
As a family, we want to reach out and draw others to the wonderful table of fellowship that we share together. A family is more than team, much more than team.
There is a saying that blood is thicker than water. When it comes to our relationship as a family, what we have, is far superior to team, but for those who need it, we are essentially a team, but the bigger picture of being ‘family’ is far more empowering and encouraging.
If you know Jesus as Lord then you are part of the family not of a team!
In terms of prophetic ministry, it means that we are prepared to be tolerant, to encourage people to step out in God not to prove themselves or build a profile, but to encourage the Church.
As a family, we are never looking for perfection and always accept those who struggle in life, encouraging them at every level to look to God and put their trust fully in Him.
As a family, we have a wider perspective of the Church. Praying for other churches, assisting them in their evangelism, giving practical help and assistance are all the characteristics that family has over teams.
I think that our expression is generally that of family, but for convenience, we call ourselves a team. Encourage the family spirit in your church – the results will be warmly encouraging.