Here in America the entrepreneurial spirit is widely celebrated and highly valued. We are often in awe of those who seemingly step out into an uncertain undertaking and become highly successful. The truth is, no one makes a success of himself or herself on his or her own. There is always a company, be it large or small, of partners and co-laborers who help the dreams become reality.
You know, in my world the most successful hero whom I long to emulate is Jesus. That probably comes as no surprise to anyone. Because He is the Son of God, the living Word, the King of Kings and Savior of the world – it might be assumed that He was utterly and totally self-sufficient and self-sustaining. Of course, in His deity, that would be totally correct. However, as a man (fully human), He relinquished His authority and privilege to act independently as some heavenly super-hero.
The Bible says, “. . . Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).
God, in His mission to redeem mankind, positioned Himself (in Christ) to be totally vulnerable to the human condition and all of its weaknesses. He literally placed Christ in this world with the same limitations that any other human would have. He even made Him vulnerable to temptation and the limitations of time, space and normal human processes. How can we not cringe at the intensity of Jesus’ testing when He cried, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will but what you will” (Mark 14:36). In that scenario, he called three of His associates and implored them to watch with Him in prayer. They failed and He chided them, “Could you not watch with Me one hour” (Mk. 14:37)?
Jesus doesn’t expect us to be super-heroes. He knows we are better together. When He sent His men out on mission, they went two by two. The first Century AD spiritual champions traveled with teams. Through all of history, great leaders and heroes have had co-laborers, fellow soldiers, assistants, supporters, etc. surrounding them. When we speak of “church” structure, we eventually always refer to the teaching of Paul in 1 Corinthians and Ephesians. Here you have the principle of “body” ministry wherein each member has a part, indeed a crucial role to play.
Through the nearly forty years of ministry life, I have always had teams around me. Even in church situations too small for paid associates, I counted on laymen and women who were vital to the work of the ministry. Equipping them to do the work of the ministry was and is the most crucial thing I do as a leader. Being part of teams under leaders I worked for and with, was the training ground for my development as a minister and a leader of co-laborers who made ministry effective.
As for me – I love teamwork. I love to see others excel in their own right. I appreciate them in that their success enhances my effectiveness. I love to watch them build teams around them in the sphere of their assignment and responsibility. I love their success and I appreciate their companionship. I thank God for investing their heart, gifts and talents in the ministry with which I’ve been entrusted by God. Thank God for teamwork!