Wednesday, January 28, 2009

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD...teamwork

Some people like to work alone. Some of the greatest heroes have worked alone~ John Wayne. Daniel Boone. Kit Carson. Davy Crockett.

Even today, people seem to be set apart from their teammates. Look at sports. Certain players are recognized by first names and not so much their team name~Michael. Shaq. Peyton.

I have been studying the book of Colossians in the Bible, and as I finish up this study, I see that Paul was not alone in the things that he accomplished. He acknowledged his team. Paul recognized the importance of teamwork in the work of the ministry.

Paul put together a great team. Strong churches came out of the leadership of this team. Throughout Europe and Asia, including Pisidian Antioch, Lystra, Iconium, Derbe, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Corinth, and Ephesus. Even the church of Colossae was started by one of Paul's team members. Because of the teamwork established, the gospel of Jesus Christ grew from a small movement to a widely spread religion throughout the Roman world.

In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers the following question: "What do you enjoy the most about being part of a great team?" The top 3 answers were:

1. 56% of those voting said they like to feel that they contributed and they felt needed.
2. 25% voted and said they like doing something that makes a difference.
3. 18% of those polled, voted and said they like to get to know people better.

So what was it that made Paul's team such a good one?

1. MUTUAL ENCOURAGEMENT

Paul told the Colossians that he had sent Tychicus to them, "so that you may know how we are, and so that he may encourage your hearts." (Colossians 4:8) This was a common practice with Paul. When he could not go to a church where he had a relationship with the members, he sent someone else.
  • (1 Thessolonians 3:1-5) Paul sent Timothy to Thessalonica
  • (2 Corinthians 8:16-18) Paul sent Titus and an unnamed brother
  • (Philippians 2:19-24) Paul sent Timothy
  • (Ephesians 6:21,22) Paul sent Tychicus to Ephesus

And in return, churches sometimes sent people to encourage and assist Paul. In the difficult times that we live in today, we also need mutual encouragement.

2. PRAYER

Even when we cannot be a part of a work directly, we can always take part through prayer. But when you are on a team, praying for each others needs is very vital for the teams success.

vs. 12 "He is always contending for you in his prayers, so that you can stand mature and fully assured in everything God wills."

The word "contending" is not praying lightly. It is serious prayer time. James reminds us that the "intense prayer of the righteous is very powerful." Being a united and successful team will take prayer!

3. HARD WORK

Having team work cannot end with prayer. We must also work hard.

vs. 13 "For I testify about him that he works hard for you, for those in Laodicea, and for those in Hierapolis."

The whole team had to work hard. Hard work is required for the church to thrive today. All kinds of people will try to sell churches easy answers ...if you get the right pastor, if you buy successful programs, if you read certain books, but in the end it is always the people who are willing to give of their time that makes a thriving church. If your team avoids putting in any time or work - it will not get very far.

4. FOCUS ON THE GOAL

A team must keep its eye on the goal. This week, we will see 2 football teams that have had one common goal for months ... to get to the Superbowl! In order to get to this place as a team ... the players had to remain focused on what their goal was.

Paul always kept his eye on his goal. "But one thing I do; forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God's heavenly call in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13,14) Paul's focus is what drove him and he expected it from those he worked with.

I read a joke recently that went like this:

Jesus came back to earth and made a visit to a local church. When the church leaders found out of His visit, they went to the Sr. Pastor and asked, "What should we do?" The Sr. Pastor said, "I don't know, but look busy!"

Too many churches and ministries within do just that...look busy. What is their goal? Each ministry of the church should have a goal and a mission statement. And as a team, they should be striving to maintain the goal set before them.

WHAT TEAM ARE YOU A PART OF?

do you have a common goal or are you just looking busy?

I have been studying the book of Colossians. These are some reflections of what I have learned from Paul. It is my prayer that whatever team you are a part of: whether it be in ministry, your job or in your marriage - that you will take Paul's lead and be an encourager. God did not intend for you to go full steam ahead all alone to do all of the work. Being a part of a team can be very satisfying, and successful. Get to know your teammates...pray for them and encourage them. Above all - keep your eyes on the goal and God will reward you for your faithfulness and your endless labor.

This concludes my study of the book of Colossians, I encourage you to go back and read thru this book and find the hope that Paul speaks about.

NEW POLL: Please take time to vote in this week's poll. Your opinion really does matter to me! You can find it on the side bar.

3 comments:

Pastor Rusty said...

Great post today Laurie. It is very satisfying to be a part of a great team. I am thankful for the team that we have on our staff. You practice what you preach, because you are a very good team member! Keep up the good work. (With your permissoin, I would love to use this post at an upcoming staff meeting!)

Blessings!

Laurie Ann said...

What powerful truths of the importance of teamwork found in this post! Awesome work, Laurie. I have enjoyed following your study of Colossians and have learned so much.

Laurie Ann said...

I don't know if my comment went through or not. I really enjoyed these truths on teamwork. I've enjoyed your study on Colossians, too, Laurie. Great teaching and encouragement found here!