30 May The Importance of Teamwork
I want to talk to you for a minute about how important teamwork is in our lives. We live in a society where the person on top is considered the “winner.” Unfortunately, that attitude is not biblical, and it doesn’t reflect what actually happens to create that “winner.”
When I read about leadership (all of us are leaders in some area of our lives), most books and articles narrowly focus on the leader as an individual, neglecting the role of teams, collaboration, and partnership. This individual focus may or may not serve as an effective approach within business organizations (none of us is an island), but I think it is particularly ill-suited in the context of church leadership and in our daily lives—where teamwork is essential
What kind of teams do you have in your life? A team can be any collection of people who have come together for some common reason (even just two!). Your family is a team. You may have a work group, small group, book club, or parents group that functions as a team. How do the people in those teams work together? Does the leader (you or another) work alone? I hope not!
When teams are functioning well, they are generally working together. The idea behind collaboration is that people with different views come together, putting aside their own self-interests, and attempt to solve a problem or achieve a goal.
The key to successful collaboration is clear, open, and effective communication. This is true in any area of your life. Teamwork is the act of working together toward one purpose. You can’t do that without effective communication! Imagine doing even a simple task as a group without the ability to communicate in some way. You cannot coordinate if you are not communicating.
History of Teamwork
Teamwork has a long history with strong scriptural roots. Ephesians 4:4-6 states: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” In Romans 12: 3-5 we read, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
There are five principles of teamwork in these two passages that can be applied to your life. The team must understand the goal, the strength of the team is in its members, the team should must work together in unity, team leaders must remain humble, and when a team is strong it is hard to destroy (Brooks 2009, 5-7). When teamwork becomes a regular part of your life, it brings strength and endurance with it!
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller
For many of us, our teamwork takes place in the form of servant leadership. Servant leadership builds any team through mutual service to one another. The basic concept behind servant leadership, based on Jesus’s leadership and command (Mark 10:42-44), is that a leader is meant to serve and not to rule.
So why am I bringing up teamwork now? Because I want to encourage you! You are not alone. You are surrounded by people who either already are (or who could be) your teammates as you go through life. Join together with them. Find your common purposes. Depend on one another. Communicate about your goals and your needs. Support one another emotionally, physically, and mentally. You will be amazed at the difference it makes on your stress levels when you know you have a teammate there ready to stand up with you!