Function as a Team
Have you ever played a game of tug o war? Several years ago while I served on staff at Real Life Ministries in Post Falls, Idaho we had an incredible event, during which an epic tug o war took place. Let me set the stage for you. The event was called Battle on the Bluff. It was an all day event where men from all our small groups gathered to spend the day competing, eating and enjoying an incredible North Idaho summer day. A man in our church owned a great piece of property that overlooked Lake Coeur d’Alene. The field of play was a huge park-like field mixed with evergreen trees.
We had massive amounts of barbequed meat, all kinds of meat. That, of course, is the primary checklist item for any successful men’s event. Along with great food we had all kinds of games ranging from horseshoes to archery targets. Prizes were given away, and throughout the day men would pass this huge tug o war pit. It would be the coup de grace of the day. Men were divided into teams based on the region they lived and we would compete to find out who were the manliest men in North Idaho. The bragging and smack talk started early, and tension rose with the temperature as the day went on.
There was one region in particular that had some of the largest guys. They outweighed most of the other teams by at least 200 pounds. So, I put my brain and sports know-how to work. My group of guys was the smallest, but we had some solid athletes. We huddled up and developed a strategy. “Its all about unity guys,” I told them. I knew if we worked in unison we could win.
We began the competition and two teams mowed through the competition, my team and the group of guys that outweighed everyone. The final battle came down to our two groups. One of us would be taking a huge mud bath. Again, I rallied the guys. We had perfected our strategy. I called out a cadence, “1 – 2 – 3- pull, 1 – 2 – 3- pull, 1 – 2 – 3- pull…” and like a well oiled machine we drug those big boys into the mud, despite their massive weight and strength advantage. Our strategy kept us together, powerfully united. When we pulled, we all pulled together and when we rested, we all rested together. Our coordinated, consistent effort as a team helped us accomplish our goal.
The church is no different. God calls us to work in unity so that we will be able to defeat the evil forces around us. He calls us to work together and love each other, and He tells us that when we do, nothing can stand against us. In fact, Jesus’ prayer in John 17 says that when we are unified, the world around us will be drawn to Jesus.
Christians, did you know that our greatest evangelistic tool is unity? Our 7th and final essential to being a disciple making church is to function as a team. The greatest way to reach our communities is to be unified as we love and care for those in our church body. So often we think our first step toward evangelistic outreach is to produce a big event in our community, yet we forget that we must be unified within our churches first. It’s no wonder the church today struggles to reach a lost world when we are so disjointed internally. To be effective in making disciples we must function as a unified team. We must fight for relationships and work together toward a common goal, or it will only be a matter of time before we find ourselves knee deep in mud, losing the spiritual tug o war over the souls of men.
My challenge to you this week is to read John 17. Pay close attention to Jesus’ prayer for you and I.