At our January staff meeting I broke everyone into groups and asked them to come up with a definition of what a successful team looks like. There were some great insights from our staff.

I then shared this definition that I had found: A successful team is one where everyone’s unique skills and strengths help the team achieve a shared goal in the most effective way.

You may have even heard the acronym for team: Together Everyone Achieves More!

The Apostle Paul describes the people of God, the church, as the “body of Christ.” He paints a beautiful picture of us.

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body …If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.  And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.  If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be … As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour … But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honour to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Selected verses from 1 Corinthians 12:12-27

As Rosebank Union Church celebrates 114 years of ministry in our city at the start of 2020, we need to remind ourselves that we are a team on mission working together in and for Christ!

I would like to highlight just a few traits that any healthy body (and team) experiences:

COMMON VISION & VALUES

If the body fights against itself it becomes cancerous. If one leg of your body walks one way and the other leg pulls in a different direction you won’t reach your destination (and it will look really strange!)

I’m told that if two tug boats are pulling a barge even 5% off from each other it will cause considerable damage. Alignment to a common vision is crucial!

Our common vision at RUC is to: Call, equip & send disciples for the glory of God. Everyone who comes into contact with our church is either a potential disciple or a current disciple of Christ.

We all have to own the vision. I know someone who used to work for Nike and it would have been ludicrous for him to wear any other brand of shoe to work – he would have been fired! He had to own and walk the vision himself.

How committed are you to the vision personally? Are you a disciple of Christ? Are you growing? Are you being equipped? Are you inviting? Are you modelling Christ? How are you serving? Are you involved and on board? Is our a church a place where God’s glory is our greatest aim and goal? How you live as an individual directly affects people’s view of Christ and the church. When people knock on my door and “blame the church” it is often because some part of the church is misaligned with Christ.

CONSISTENT COMMUNICATION

Motor neuron disease is tragic to see as it shuts down the muscles. The body loses the ability to communicate; the individual parts become cut off.

In 2020 we are working to continue to make our vision and values crystal clear so we can pull together and be excited about what God has done and still wants to do through us. Consistent communication creates health and life. It minimises conflict and opens the door to learning to listen to others.

James wrote: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

Don’t allow things to fester – deal with conflict. Don’t gossip – speak to the source. Be in community where you can learn to listen and be shaped. No body part can function in isolation from the whole. Most of all we want to be sensitive to God’s Spirit. We want to be quick to obey and respond to the voice of God. May our preaching continue to magnify Christ!

SHARING THE LOAD

What a blessing to have two legs, two arms, two hands, etc. What a blessing to be part of a large church like RUC – part of a body that is bigger than my contribution! So many churches do not have the resources, staff, volunteers, ministry opportunities that we have. What a privilege to share the load and have people to support and collaborate with. What a tragedy to just rock up on a Sunday and leave and not share the load of ministry.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (Ecc 4:9-10)

MUTUAL CARE

We continue to celebrate diversity at RUC. Each part of the body is unique. We all come from different backgrounds and cultures. The body is so diverse in its makeup and functioning. It is a true wonder to behold how a healthy body functions. The gospel should have greater power to unite us than our differences have to divide us!

Paul reminds us in the passage that we should have equal concern for each other: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.”

We need each part and cannot despise any part. God has brought each of us to RUC and Paul tells us that God has arranged the parts of the body as he sees fit.

My deep desire is that in 2020 we would continue to function as His healthy body here in Sandton – that we may bring Christ’s presence and influence to bear upon our city as we work together – unity in diversity.

Go Team RUC!  To God be the Glory!