The individual who believes the erroneous notion that numbers do not matter probably works alone. While one person can be very productive, the simple addition of one co-worker can greatly reduce the size of the task and increase productivity.
Life and ministry is essentially a huge building project. God has called us to build. Building takes time and work. Work requires having a team mentality. 1 Corinthians 3 provides five keys to effective teamwork.
1. DEVELOP PERSONAL GROWTH (1 Corinthians 3:1-2)
The word carnal refers to immaturity. God has designed us to grow! Failure of growth is an indication of carnal-rule rather than Spirit-rule. It is evident by several passages in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians that they were very proud of their wisdom and knowledge, but they could not work together because of immaturity.
Effective teamwork begins with effective personal development and maturity. Jesus said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). The word perfect here means to “mature in one’s behavior.” Dynamic teamwork starts with each member growing up personally and spiritually.
2. CREATE A PROPER TEAM ATTITUDE (1 Corinthians 3:3)
Division destroys a teams ability to succeed. A team full of talent means nothing if they are selfish and divisive. This was the attitude of the church at Corinth. Paul called them carnal. Their personal immaturity was directly linked to their attitudes of envy, strife, and divisions.
Passion Rather Than Envy: It is interesting to note that the word zeal and the word envying come from the same root word. Zeal is passion under control. Every team can benefit from passionate people when their focus is on WE and not ME.
Creation Rather Than Contention: Many people say they are providing “constructive criticism” when they are really being contentious. Strife is a team killer. The church is called to edify and to build up. It is better to create a new attitude, action, or method than to destroy, abuse, and debate. Anyone can argue, but not everyone can edify.
Harmony Rather Than Discord: Teamwork requires cooperative effort. God hates division and sowing of discord. The early church had all things “common.” Successful teams learn to put aside personal agendas and petty quarrels so the overall mission can be achieved.
3. KNOW WHO IS ON THE TEAM (1 Corinthians 3:4-5)
Paul and Apollos were on the same team! They were working for the same cause, preaching the same message.There is no place in ministry for spotlight-grabbing superstars who follow self-seeking principles. Jesus sent the disciples out by twos. The fact is that no one person can do all of the labor alone. Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto riding with him everywhere!
Co-laborers and teams, by definition, involve more people. That means more energy, more resources, more ideas, and more accomplishment. Being laborers together fosters a sense of community. We win together. We cry together. We work together. We build together. We have revival together.
4. UNDERSTAND THE BIG PICTURE (1 Corinthians 3:6-9)
Every member of a winning team understands they have a role in contributing to the bigger picture. Paul planted, Apollos watered, and God gave the increase to His kingdom. Mark 16:20, “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”
Paul said, “Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.” We are rewarded to our labor and not according to the “increase.” The big picture means to know your role and work toward the goal.
5. UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS (1 Corinthians 3:10-11)
Every team has potential, but potential cannot be realized without a process of building, learning, and developing.
The rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem is an excellent example of what can happen when people work together. The vision was clear. The leadership was solid. The workers were willing. Building the wall was a process. Time after time the enemy would attempt to distract the workers from completing their tasks, yet the wall was completed because the workers refused to stop working.
Building a church is a process. Making disciples is a process. Striving for excellence is a process. Growing a team in ministry is a process. The rewards and blessings are worth all the work when you see God giving the increase!
What are some ways you have developed your ministry team? What are some challenges you face in building your team?