< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Church Team Spirit

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Church Team Spirit

More sharing from Stuart Briscoe’s Nine Attitudes that Keep a Christian Going and Growing.

Here's what he says about team spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:4-13There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.

A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.

The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit .”

The Phrase esprit de corps is drummed into members of the military. The term literally means “spirit of a body”. But the idea was: individual soldiers could achieve certain things, but a regiment could accomplish the unimaginable.

It’s true in the Christian church too.

In order to generate this spirit in a church we must emphasize our common experience. Too many times when we get together we only talk about our differences. This can be destructive. We need to realize that as Christians we have far more things in common, then not.

One thing we have in common: if we’ve entered into a relationship with Jesus, it’s because God took the initiative. He got our attention. He touched our lives. He turned us around. He transformed us. Also, we all serve the same Lord. Paul wrote that no one can say Jesus is Lord, and mean it, unless he has the Holy Spirit in him. And we all experience the working of the Holy Spirit, convicting us of sin, convincing us of the truthfulness of Christ and converting us to a new lifestyle.

Besides our common experiences, we also have a common good. This means when I experience the working of God in my life it’s not purely for my own benefit. I’m supposed to use it to help the body of believers.

Paul points out in this passage that we all have different backgrounds. The people he was talking to were Jews, Gentiles, free or slaves. He also pointed out that they had different callings.

And then in verse 18 he says, “God arranged the parts in the body, everyone of them just as he wanted them to be.” By that Paul meant God has taken individual Christians from differing circumstances and has placed them in the body in different ways to do different things. All of us, uniquely different, are designed for the good of the body.

At a meeting of the American Psychological Association, Jack Lipton, a psychologist at Union College, and R. Scott Builione, a graduate student at Columbia University, presented their findings on how members of the various sections of 11 major symphony orchestras perceived each other. The percussionists were viewed as insensitive, unintelligent, and hard-of-hearing, yet fun-loving. String players were seen as arrogant, stuffy, and unathletic. The orchestra members overwhelmingly chose “loud” as the primary adjective to describe the brass players. Woodwind players seemed to be held in the highest esteem, described as quiet and meticulous, though a bit egotistical. Interesting findings, to say the least! With such widely divergent personalities and perceptions, how could an orchestra ever come together to make such wonderful music? The answer is simple: regardless of how those musicians view each other, they subordinate their feelings and biases to the leadership of the conductor. Under his guidance, they play beautiful music.

Another way we generate team spirit in the church is by emphasizing a common objective. The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ

What he’s saying when he says “So it is with Christ” is that the church is an extension of Christ. Because we identify with Christ we must also identify with each other. The objective of the church is to make an invisible Christ visible, an intangible Christ tangible.

We are to be the mechanical means whereby the dynamic Christ touches people’s lives. Sometimes we just simply say we are His hands and feet.

The true church of Jesus Christ also demonstrates a unity that allows diversity. God created all of our differences. He loves the variety! God’s work demands all kinds of love, compassion, flexibility and openness. It’s one thing that makes us different from a Country Club or social club.

When people ask someone about their church they will often talk about the building or the programs. But, the church isn’t somewhere to go. It’s something we are. We are the body of Christ. If we don’t even know what the church is, how can we know what it’s suppose to do and how we can do it?

Right after this passage is the great Love passage 1 Corinthians 13. It’s where Paul reminds us to create a loving, concerned atmosphere, by cultivation and demonstrating genuine interest in people. By encouraging their questions, by accepting their uniqueness while welcoming them into our fellowship. And we do it out of love for Christ so His purposes won’t be hindered.

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