« Back to Articles
Team Players
by Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT
The idea of playing as a team is exemplified in many sports. One great example of playing as a team is found in the game of football. If you have ever played this game as an organized sport, you know that every person’s position is important for the success of the entire team.

It is obvious, even to one who has never played the sport, that every player has a role that needs to be fulfilled and played to the fullest of each player’s ability so that the team can win games. Even with an excellent quarterback, running backs, and receivers, a team cannot win without a good offensive line and good defense. Every part of the team must accomplish their job for the team to be successful.

The team mentality is also predominant in successful churches and ministries. One man alone cannot accomplish very much. Jesus even chose an inner circle of twelve and sent them out in the limited commission (Matthew 10:5ff) and later in the great commission (Matthew 28:19) to accomplish the purposes of God.

The idea of “we hired a preacher for that, and he can do it all,” is ludicrous at its inception. Saying that “The elders and deacons will take care of everything,” is to undermine the nature of Christian service and evangelism. A congregation of two hundred can accomplish infinitely more than a preacher of one, an eldership of seven, or a gaggle of deacons.

Assembling with the saints is crucial for edification and cooperation in ministry efforts. The Hebrew brethren, as part of their encouragement, were told to assemble with one another. This “team” effort should be a source of comfort and strength in our age too; especially since we live an darkness with people who are under the delusions of a secular world. Hebrews 10:25 says, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

We are also to stand together in the faith of the gospel and with one mind. Philippians 1:27 says, “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”

If we do not have “one mind” in the work of the church, it undermines all else that we are trying to accomplish.

Along these same lines, division in the body of Christ is sinful. Just as failure to listen to a coach in team sport causes loss, failure to make Christ the head of the body and hear Him in all things results in condemnation and loss. 1 Corinthians 1:10 says, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

Just like a team sport, all the members of the body of Christ have a part to play in ministry and the accomplishment of God’s will. Ephesians 4:11-16 says, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” While we all have various works to be a part of, God loves us the same and each job is necessary for the accomplishment of the mission.

Contrariwise, being on a team with people who are carnal defeats the purpose of God for His people. Many scriptures warn against being with people who are not spiritually minded. 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 says, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? We must make sure that the ones on our team have the same goals and attitudes in their mind—complete and total service towards God and heaven as an eternal home.

Along these same lines of cooperation and teamwork, husbands and wives are expected to “work together” as heirs of eternal life. That is, they are expected to help one another in the family, in the ministry, and in marriage. 1 Peter 3:7 says, “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that

your prayers may not be hindered.” The family is a crucial unit in God’s plan and strong family can edify the church.

Finally, we can pray for one another. The inspired Apostle Paul asked the brethren at Rome to continually pray for him. Romans 15:30 says, “Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me.” When we ask our brethren to pray about a situation in mass, it provides a tremendous source of encouragement for those who are struggling with life situations.

Church, let us all work together as a team. Any situations that create division or undermines the work of an autonomous congregation of the Lord’s people need to be ceased forthwith. Teams that do not function under the head of the body (Christ in the church) are doomed to failure. Please be a part of the team that is working hard to bring others to Him and make our final abode eternal in the Heavens.