Word of the Week: Teamwork

I’m writing this post at 33,000 feet onboard a Southwest jet on the way to Philadelphia.

Southwest prides themselves on being a fun and friendly airline with low fares. And, of course, bags fly free. They also have a culture that promotes working together as a team. Think of all the people necessary to get us from Tampa to Philly. Besides pilots, flight engineers and flight attendants are the baggage handlers, ticket agents, and customer service reps. And many others behind the scenes working in offices to ensure everything runs smoothly.

In fact, in the September issue of the Southwest magazine, there’s an article by Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly entitled a “Winning Team” lauding the Southwest Team. In it, he relates a recent seminar with their leadership team that featured legendary football coach Lou Holtz.

Holtz shared that when coaching he had three simple rules for his teams: (1) Do what’s right; (2) Do everything to the best of your ability; (3) Show your team you care.

Kelly said these three rules applied to their company at Southwest and made it a winning team. It occurred to me that these “rules” have a Biblical basis. And they would serve us well in all areas of life including our homes and churches.

(1) When we do what’s right, we build trust.

On a football team “right” is defined within the context of the game of football–its rules, culture, and the coaches’ guidelines. A business “code of ethics” along with their traditions and climate give the employees direction. In both cases those working together learn to trust one another

A church is like a team with its Pastors, Preachers, Teachers, Deacons and members working together. “Right” is regulated by God’s Word. “The Word of the Lord is right” wrote David in Psalm 33:4. And His standard of righteousness is revealed in the Gospel (Rom. 1:16-17).

When everyone in spiritual work “trusts in the Lord” with all their heart and refuse to lean on their own understanding (Prov. 3:5), then mutual trust is developed among the members who rely on and support one another.

(2) When we encourage everyone to do everything to the best of their ability we create commitment.

The church is not one member, but many. Not everyone has the same skills, gifts or abilities Not everyone has a public leadership role. Each according to God’s grace have been given gifts to use, not only to His glory, but to the betterment of the Body (Rom. 12:3-8).

The “one another” passages in the New Testament speak to cooperation, fellowship, harmony, teamwork and commitment both to the Lord and each other within our spiritual family.

Commitment is necessary for the spiritual growth, maturity and success of every Christian This was the call of Christ to his potential followers. It’s the essence of his statement in Luke 9:62. “”No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Disciples doing their best creates a culture of commitment to Christ and one another.

(3) When we truly care about one another we grow in love.

The Corinthian Christians were commanded to have “the same care for one another” (1 Cor 12:26). Such care issues itself in the qualities of love expressed in 1 Corinthians 13. Patient. Kind. Forgiving. Selfless. Trusting. Hopeful. And enduring.

There is an old saying that “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” One hallmark of Christian love is really caring about the concerns of others. Their problems. Hurts. And challenges.

The virtue of brotherly love binds and bonds us together. It molds us in the image of God’s divine nature. It produces gentleness, goodwill, and generosity. And results in tenderness, tolerance and thoughtfulness.

Teamwork is an essential element in every successful endeavor. To those who think they can go it alone, John Maxwell sounds this word of caution, “If you think you are the entire picture, you will never see the big picture.”

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

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