Team Player--by Timothy A. & Kimberly B. Southall

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When it comes to your Christian life, do you consider yourself to be a team player? You ought to, because you are part of one body–the body of Christ:

12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one bodywhether Jews or Greeks, slave or freeand we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. . . . 27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 27 (NIV)

And just as a body needs all of its parts, so it is with those who are part of Christ's church. (See 1 Corinthians 12:15-26.) There is not a single part, or Christian, who is unimportant or dispensable. Sadly, though, far too many church members behave as if either they or others aren't needed or wanted within the church. The problem is that those individuals do not see themselves as part of a team with a common goal.

The church is on an important mission. Those who are part of the mission are part of the team. The mission is not a spectator sport, and it is not a game in which one competes against another, hoping to win while forcing another to lose. But all too often the petty objectives of some common games are evident within Christ's church. Do you recognize any of the following games in your congregation?

Hide and Seek–the game in which church members "hide" when there is work, particularly evangelism, to be done

London Bridge–the game in which church members sound sweet when they are singing but they are ever waiting for the opportunity to entrap a fellow member when they least expect it

Duck, Duck, Goose–the game in which a church member casually goes around "sizing up" or evaluating other members and then picks on the one he deems to be the weakest or slowest and attempts to eliminate them

Twister–the game in which a church member, who desires all the attention and praise, does whatever it takes to fill the positions God intended for other Christians, even to the point of grotesque contortion

Tag–the game played by the congregation in which one member does the work and/or carries the burden(s) for as long as he possibly can. Then, only when he is completely exhausted, discouraged, and "burned out" is he able to "tag" another member, forcing that individual to then carry the burden in a never-ending, defeating cycle

War Ball–the game in which one warring, unhappy member attacks the other members, one by one, until he is satisfied that he has eliminated them all

King of the Hill–the game in which one member deems himself to be a "first-class" Christian and some others as an inferior breed for various reasons (perhaps because they had committed "worse" or "greater" sins prior to conversion). When the "second-class" Christians try to become more like Christ or help in the congregation in any way, the "king of the hill" is sure to remind them how unworthy they are, thus pushing them down the hill spiritually

Indeed, it would be wonderful if none of these "games" were being played within Christ's church. But usually there is evidence that they are. We must remind ourselves that we are part of the one body of Christ and that we are important just as all of the other parts are important. We must remember we are trying to achieve a common goal–becoming more like Christ and winning others to Him. This goal is attainable for everyone who desires it–if only everyone would be a team player.

Copyright © 2001 Timothy A. & Kimberly B. Southall. All rights reserved.