TEAM, FAMILY, CHURCH
What do ‘team’, ‘family’, and ‘church’, have in common? Their connection may not be immediately obvious. A team, such as a football team, is comprised of members who perform a task to achieve a common goal. Each of the players’ roles complements the other players and when coordinated together enables them to achieve far more than they could on their own. A family seems to be completely different. For starters, a team may only last for a season. A family lasts for a lifetime of decades. A team is connected by talent. A family is connected by biological bonds and the unconditional love that flows from that bond. Team composition necessarily has to change based on individual performances. Family composition isn’t based on performance – and may even be in spite of performance abilities. But what of a church? In many respects it is different altogether to a team and a family. Or is it?
¶ For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
First Corinthians 12:12
MORE ALIKE THAN IT APPEARS
The things that make for a strong team, also can make for a strong family – and a strong church. All three diverse involvements unite people. All three involve people fulfilling certain roles. All three require leadership. All three must have rules. All three need coaching and discipline. Even churches. Having these things in common makes teams, families, and churches more alike than we might initially appreciate. Each of us have something to learn about becoming a stronger team, family, or church, from each other.
THE COMMON INGREDIENT
But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.
First Corinthians 11:3
I once heard the CEO of major international hotel chain describe how his faith in Christ and his understanding of Biblical leadership had helped to shape him, his company, and his senior staff. While many of his competitors had a view of leadership that was very hierarchical and authoritarian, this CEO saw that the Scriptures described leadership primarily as service. In this view, the leader, and those in their leadership structure, performed a function rather than merely holding an impressive job title. Seeing leadership in this light changes the way teams work. Coaches and captains become servants who work with their team rather than having their team work for them. It also changes the way families work. Husbands and fathers become a servant to their wife and children. Their leadership seeks to ensure their family’s safety, provision, welfare, and nurture. (Some men see being a husband and a father as a position of power to make others do what they want. This is not Christ-like leadership.) And it changes the way a church views leadership. Rather than a church leader relishing in their position or title in order to garner the respect of those in their congregation, they strive to fulfil their position or title by using their appointment and gifts to help others.
The common ingredient of all successful teams, families, and churches, is servant-hearted leadership. The team leader wants to see their team members succeed. The husband and father in a family wants to see his wife and children flourish and succeed. A pastor and his leadership team wants to see those in their church thriving and achieving successes that they never did.
If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
First Corinthians 12:26
You may be one of those people who has experience in all three involvements – a team, a family, and a church. If you are, then you’ll know what I’ve been talking about. If you’re even more fortunate to be a part of a successful team, a successful family and a successful church, then you’re doubly blessed. You will already know that your team needs you to do your part well. You will have also found that in your family, each member shares a part of the load for the household. And in church you will have come to know that when everyone does what they can, just as in a sporting team or family, you also have a better chance of achieving success.
from whom 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.
Much to our Board’s frustration, taking leave is very difficult for me. Perhaps in a way that only a pastor can begin to understand, taking leave can actually be quite stressful for me. But, for the good of our church, so that we learn together what Christ meant by the pronouns ‘we’, ‘us’, ‘as one’, when referring to His followers, Kim and I are taking some leave. I am writing this to you now, from just outside Stuttgart Germany in the beautiful town of Nürtingen. You won’t hear from me again until November. In the meantime, each Sunday service, you will see, hear and appreciate, just how deep our preaching ‘bench’ has now developed. In addition to this, each week, you’ll hear from one of our pastors who will be filling in for me to write these weekly pastoral epistles. I look forward to returning in November and meeting all the new people who have joined our church and found Christ. And hopefully along the way, they too will come to find the acceptance and love that all good teams, families and churches offer.