12Because just as the body is one but has many parts, and all the body’s parts are one body, so it is with Christ. 13For you were all baptized by one Spirit into one body, whether you were Jews or gentiles, slaves or free before, and all of you have drunk of one Spirit. 14For the body is also not one part, but many. — 1 Corinthians 12:12-14 (TFBV)
I was struck the other day by the spiritual force of something that our son John said, which was quoted in the Pensacola News Journal. He said that his team, the Pensacola Pelicans had the sort of chemistry that made a winning team.
Now it’s hard to pull out â€œchemistryâ€ and make bullet points out of it, but let me list a few:
Knowing that it’s all about teamwork
Knowing you each have to give your best
Thinking like winners, not losers
Never being satisfied with less than the best
Encouraging one another
Giving useful advice
I’m sure there are more things that could be said, but those should get you started.
So my question this morning is simple. Does your team have chemistry? You can apply this question to your whole church, to a ministry team on which you serve, or to a community group. You can apply this in the secular workplace.
Many churches exist with the attitude that they’re not doing too bad, so why change things when they’re kind of chugging along. They become satisfied with not being winners, with not doing the best that they can. When you do that, you will automatically start finding more and more things to be annoyed about, and you’ll spend your time on less and less important things. Why? You’ve already decided you can’t be winners, so what you’re interested in is dividing up what’s left over.
Now the main problem for churches and all those smaller groups I mentioned is that they often can’t get together on what their purpose is. If you don’t know what you want to do, it’s going to be very hard to get unified about doing it! Shocking, isn’t it? I recently heard a pastor say clearly in front of his church that the one purpose of that church was to fulfill the gospel commission. A couple of weeks later, I heard him express the same thing differently in a full sermon. The one and only purpose of the church is to be a witness to God in and through Christ Jesus.
When I visit churches to teach I ask about their mission statement. Now church management and growth isn’t my area of expertise, but I know enough about it to know this: If you don’t know your mission, you’re not going to get anywhere. Consider a baseball team in which many players don’t have as their mission to win games, but rather to bring in salaries for themselves, or in some cases just to occupy their time. It will be hard for such a team to win.
But many churches are filled with people who are in church in order to check off a box. They want to be known as church going people (purpose: business networking), or they want to give their children a good example (purpose: child-raising without getting too â€œspiritualâ€), or they may want to be entertained by some aspect of the service. Then we wonder why these churches are in decline. I don’t care how much we talk about unity and growth, we will never have it until we get on missionâ€”God’s mission, the gospel commission.
I ask again: Does your team have chemistry?