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On Being a Team Player

By Todd Outcalt | November 12 2012

"Now the body is not made up of one part, but of many" (1 Corinthians 12:14).

When I was in college, I had a friend who was a pre-med student. In one corner of his apartment hung a full-sized plastic skeleton, complete with anatomical identifications: Sternum. Ulna. Radius. Etc. My friend was proud of his ability to identify all the bones of the human body and frequently chided me to "pick a bone, any bone!" He knew them all from memory.

We may find it odd that the church is compared to human anatomy. There are lots of parts in the body—the apostle Paul tells us—but all are essential and essentially different.

While we may not find this analogy so interesting today, I'm sure many would find the metaphor of a team compelling. A team is composed of many players—each member differing in abilities and skills. Yet, all are needed. A team is only as good as its weakest links; and on most teams, everyone must contribute if the team is to succeed.

As we consider our ministries and the people with whom we work, the same holds true. A congregation can function neither by pastoral leadership alone, nor by the work of the secretary or custodian. Youth ministry cannot flourish unless parents, volunteers and especially the youth themselves are part of the team. We never see success on our own.

As you consider your ministry, begin by asking, "Who's on my team?" It's a very important question and one worth asking time and again. We can't succeed unless all the parts are working together. That's real teamwork, and it is essential.

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