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It may be cliché to say that “There is no ‘i’ in ‘Team’,” but it is true and not just in the word. A team, be it a married couple, a sports ballclub, a company store, or whatever else, is not supposed to be everyone for themselves but instead everyone working together. That is most certainly true when it comes to ministry. In the earliest days of the church as related in the book of Acts we can see the people coming together as a team, and also having disagreements, including if it seemed like someone did not do what they were supposed to do. Here are several examples:


Acts 4:32-35:  Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.


Acts 6:1-7:  Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them. Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.


Acts 13:1-3:  Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.


Acts 15:1-2, 6,-7a, 18-20:  And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the law of Moses, you cannot be saved.” Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question…Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them:…“Known to God from eternity are all His works. Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood…”


Acts 15:36-41:  Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.” Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.


What you see in these passages is the operation of a well-oiled machine, the early church. They were not without their issues, however, with doctrinal disputes, factions, false teachings, and people who were supposed to contribute to the work of the ministry in various ways but did not. Despite the problems faced, you can see that even when there were disagreements the early church, for the most part, continued to function as a team. People put aside their selfish interests for the good of the whole.


How many ministry teams do this today? We do not know, but with the way the Church has fractured and split so many times since her birth, there is certainly less teamwork now than then. This must also be true due to the condition the modern Church is in. Unity is prized by the Lord (Psalm 133:1). It is necessary for so much, from the fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) to the smooth functioning of each individual church and ministry. We saw the example in Acts about John Mark (probably the same Mark who wrote the Gospel of that name) and how Paul did not feel that the young man was dependable because he had left the apostles earlier (Acts 13:13). There are also those who want to run the show and promote themselves, and those who say one thing but mean another:


3 John 1:9-10:  I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church.


Matthew 5:37:  “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’, ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.”


If you are on a ministry team, or if you are a Christian, period, do you disappear after a church function or do you help clean up if you are available? If you make a commitment to do x amount of work per week for your team do you keep your word or do you always make excuses as to why you could not get it done? If you disagree with your pastor do you go to him and clear the air or do you talk bad about him behind his back? If the church you attend is not right for you, do you seek to find another one for you and/or for your family or do you try to draw others away from the church as you prepare to leave it? Are you seeking to give God the glory for your place in the church, or are you promoting yourself? Do you have your fellow believers’ backs, or do you bail out in self-preservation mode when trouble arises? Do you agree with the Bible’s teachings or do you go around to other believers, undermining their beliefs and the pastor’s efforts with false teachings? Are you humble and teachable, or do you get angry and defensive when corrected? Are you content with the calling God has placed on your life, or do you seek to fill a place God never called you into? Do you care more about titles than service?


There are many more things which could be added to this series of questions, but the point should be obvious: As a Christian you should live like you are part of the body of Christ instead of constantly going your own way. If you are part of a ministry team then be on board with it. Work with the team, not against it. Promote Jesus Christ and the team, not yourself. If you do not feel you can keep up with what you said you were going to do, drop into a less demanding role. If you cannot get on board with what your church or your ministry team is doing then quietly leave instead of causing trouble as you go and trying to get others to follow you away. Serve the Lord and serve your brothers and sisters in Christ, and do all this with sincerity. In due time God will reward you.


1 Corinthians 12:20-27:  But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.


Matthew 23:11-12:  “But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”



One Response

  1. Amen! Good word that many MANY in the Body of Christ, the Church really need to take heed to today!!! 🙂