Church is a team sport

Copyright: braverabbit / 123RF Stock Photo

Every weekday, I get to spend two or more hours behind the wheel as part of my job. Rather than surfing the radio dial for music or listening to talk radio, I decided to listen to an audio Bible. I figure that even if I don’t catch every detail, I will still benefit from the listening.

Yesterday, I listened to 1 Chronicles 11 where the author lists David’s mighty men. While listening, the thought struck me that for David to achieve the success that he had as king, he needed the support of these men. God equipped and called these men to establish the Kingdom of Israel. David, working alone, could not have achieved all that was accomplished with the support of the mighty men. The establishment of the David’s Kingdom was a team effort.

Fast forward 3,000 years.

The church in America too often centers around a person who is gifted in teaching or one who is good at presenting a vision. As that pastor/leader goes, so goes the congregation he leads.

But, for the church to be all that she needs to be, it must be a team effort. Too often we have leaders and church staff holding back what God wants to do out of fear that they will lose control and that things will happen that are not part of the vision of the leaders.

As a result, we may try to limit what happens to what fits the box that we’ve put around the organization. By doing this, we can inadvertently limit what God will do in our congregation.

God calls us as church leaders to equip the people in our congregations for the works of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12). It seems to me like we are called to equip them and then turn them loose. Certainly there is the call to be shepherds and correct doctrinal error when it is encountered, but there should not be any sense of limiting the forms in which the ministry happens.

God called and equipped the mighty men to support David. God calls and equips the members of our congregations to build the church (his church, not ours). David did not micromanage his mighty men, he turned them loose. Neither should we micromanage the people in our congregations.

The strength of the church does not rest in the leader or leaders. The strength of the church rests in the entire body that Christ fits together. Every member of the body needs to be nurtured and sustained.

If we are to accomplish all that God has for us, we need to remember that it is a team effort and we stand or fall based on how well we nurture every member.