I love being a part of a team. There is something very special about a group of individuals with different talents and skills coming together for one big purpose. I have seen this many times as a volleyball coach. The teams that have won have shared a few common characteristics.
First, they have had a unified vision. They know that you can’t always control the outcomes, but you can control what you are trying to accomplish. They measure success by how well they execute this vision regardless of the results.
Second, they have a “team first” mindset. On some of my teams I have had athletes, who would be starters on most other school teams, choose to embrace a supportive role so that the team can be better. I have had athletes agree to play in positions and embrace a philosophy that was new and/or challenging for them. Instead of relying on what they were comfortable with, they chose to be a team player.
Third, they worked together in a positive environment of encouragement and support. There really is only so much a coach can do. At some point, the team must decide if they are going to work hard to make each other better. Whether this means committing to working hard at every practice, showing up to the games prepared, or using their voice to elevate the game of those around them, it is imperative that they build each other up.
I think this is what Jesus envisioned when He prayed for His church.
I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:21-23
The challenge for you and I today is whether or not we are willing to be surrendered to Jesus’ vision for us as His church. Are you willing to set aside your preference in order to serve another? Are you willing to use your gifting, whether acknowledged or not, in order to make those around you better? Are you willing to use your voice to encourage and inspire others to the greatest vision ever given to humanity – the call to let the world know that they are loved by God, evidenced in our love for each other?
• How has God gifted me to make His church better?