restoring our biblical and constitutional foundations


A Lesson in Teamwork

 David Alan Black  

The day before yesterday Becky bought a contraption that allows you to pull your garden hose along while you’re working. The directions said it would probably take 3 hours to assemble. Being a card-carrying member of the Unskilled Workers of America, I knew I was in trouble. It would probably take me even longer to put the thing together. What to do?

Call on someone more skilled than yourself, I thought. Nathan cheerfully obliged, and together we assembled the hose carriage. My job? Unwrap the pieces, and hand him the instructions (which he barely needed). Nathan had that thing up and running within minutes. If I had done it by myself, I’d still be out in the yard.

I think if we applied common sense household principles to the church it would enormously strengthen the concept of every-member ministry within our congregations. How silly to try to do something for which you’re not gifted! Especially when someone is there who has the know-how. The greatest difficulty is normally to get a church to think “edificationally” and actually desire the participation of all members of the Body.

The early Christians found that there was no joy like the joy of serving one another according to each person’s talents. Alas, we have become dependent on the clergy to the degree that we would rather hire a “professional” to do the work than use a “layman” with the same gift set. But if we are to see a revolution of “lay” participation there has to be a revolution in our attitudes. The early church was open enough to the Holy Spirit to allow its members to exercise their gifts. Each of us is but a limb on the tree, a stone in the building, a sheep in the flock. We need the strength and abilities of each other if for no other reason than none of us can “do it all.”

This may well be the biggest difference between the New Testament church and our own. Their responsibility to care for each other rested squarely on the shoulder of every single member. The early church grew rapidly without the aid of some of our most cherished assets – large staffs, expensive programs, complicated strategies and methods – simply because they opened their homes, their hearts, and their hands to each other.

What, then, did it take for me to ask Nathan for help? The realization that in every family there are a variety of skills and gifts. The belief in and commitment to teamwork. The acknowledgement that where one person is weak usually another person is strong.

There’s hope for the Frozen People of God. And the key is teamwork.

April 4, 2007

David Alan Black is the editor of

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