Effective Mission Equals Teams

More than any other time in our history the Covid pandemic has demanded an unnatural change in society that has shaken the norms of life.

That change has required that we socially isolate and retract into our bubbles. The loss of social team networks and support such as workplaces, mission action, and church gatherings has radically changed our life. This is surely not what God had in mind for his people!

No, it’s not. In fact, we see in the Bible’s first example of teamwork, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, working as the co-authors of creation. Each member of this trinity had a defined job to perform. Then the trinity introduces us to God’s climax of creation, man and women! In Genesis 1:26 – 27, God fashioned Adam and Eve to be the first human team. They were created to complement each other and reflect the image of God as community in the teamwork as seen in Godhead. It’s not surprising then that when society is functioning as God intended it, it is one of mutual collaboration, sharing of gifts and talents, and of service for the glory of God.

Sadly, we must acknowledge that the problem of mankind’s sin has constantly ruined God’s intention for relationship. The consequences of sin are violation of relationships, firstly mankind with God and secondly, broken relationships with each other.

Is God wanting to get our attention in our bubbles?

With Covid thrusting us all into this new experience that often results in isolation from family and friends, we fight for restored contact with others. Social media connection is a glaringly unsatisfactory exchange for physical relationship.

In times of lockdown, we discover most of us long for that social contact.

Why do we feel like this?

We feel like this because we are designed to need God and each other. No one has all the skills, gifts, or wisdom necessary for a successful life. We are encouraged to use the gifts we have received - the talents and unique abilities of our created nature, as well as our spiritual gifts to serve and support each other with kindness, respect, and appreciation. God’s Word the Bible shares a lot of information about working together. Teamwork is God’s idea and is evident in the societal structures of marriage, family, community, and in mission. It’s in God’s model of community that we find advice for daily living, conflict management, and growing friendship as we apply God’s counsel to life.

Examining our relationships with others.

This requires of us an honest evaluation of past and present team relationships. While this may be personally confronting it has the potential to open up renewed opportunity to engage in the best team building, and restoration of God’s intent for our relationships


What team lessons can we learn from our Covid experience?

What is God’s intention for my future relationships with others and how can I contribute to the life of my team?

As a young man my father gave me a booklet which was entitled “Spiritual Checkup.”  Published in 1952 it covered spiritual checks for the Christian in the world, workplace, home, and church but one significant page for me was the spiritual checkup in the area of relationship with fellow workers. The checks were as follows.

  1. Can I work with other people, and can other people work with me?
  2. Do I love the people I am called to work with; know them intimately and in depth:  clear up misunderstandings with them quickly and never criticise them to others?
  3. Have I a longing always to be first? - or can I truly say that I don't care who is second, third or fourth so long as Jesus is first?
  4. Do I want God's cause to advance, or is my chief desire that I should advance it?
  5. Can I hear my colleagues praised and sincerely enjoy it?

Did you have any niggles?

Putting God first is the key to having the right orientation in relationships with the teams we work with. Right relationship with God is realised in listening and talking to God through the reading of the Bible and prayer. Then we have a choice to make. This choice is found in a truth I have shared at many weddings I have conducted. The one advice that I have given at each of these weddings is that “choosing who to marry is not so much a question of finding the right person but rather choosing to be the right person for your husband or wife.”

When it comes to relationships or serving in the team, we must choose to be the right person in speech, action, faithfulness and dependability.

My prayer is that as Covid provides us with the time to reflect on our lives that we will have the courage to let God into our ‘teams in mission’ thinking, to remove the obstacles to loving and serving God together as a team.

Murray Stevenson