Says the Eye to the Hand…
Ministry is a Team Sport
All three symptoms of ministry schizophrenia —
- Detached Donor Syndrome
- Divided and Conquered Syndrome
- Absent Father Syndrome
— not to mention the many other symptoms — must be overwhelmed by the fresh realization that ministry is an expression of community.
The Christian elder statesman Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian wisely observed that community is the fundamental concept of the church because community is the fundamental concept of the Trinity.
- God exists in three Persons — has always existed in three Persons — and as the perfect expression of His multiple nature created people.
- Leaving Adam alone was “not good” (Genesis 2:18).
- God designed the church as an expression of community (“All the believers were together,” according to Acts 2:44), not a registry of Lone Rangers.
- We are interdependent, like it or not, and learning to live and work together is the most basic task of the Church.
Accordingly, we must acknowledge the fact that ministry is a team sport.
- The principal is only one part of the team.
- The staff form other parts.
- Volunteers are a part of the team.
- A development agency may be part of your team.
- Perhaps most critical of all, the donor is a part of the team.
We are all members of the body of Christ, and certainly your ministry is a significant, distinct component of that body. It follows, then, that your ministry must function by the same processes and within the same parameters as the body as a whole. And denigrating the role of any member of the body is … well, a no-no.
No doubt you have read and heard 1 Corinthians 12:14-27 many times. But read it here again, with your fellow ministry workers and your donors in mind:
Now the body is not made up of one part but of many….
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.
- (“Arranged … just as he wanted” means:
- Your donor is doing exactly what God called her to do.
- The marketing department is exactly where God determined they should be at this juncture.
- The leader of the ministry is ordained by God for exactly that role at exactly this time.)
If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
- The eye [read: board of directors] cannot say to the hand [read: marketing department], “I don’t need you!”
- And the head [read: ministry president] cannot say to the feet [read: donors], “I don’t need you!”
- On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable….
God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor 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 [read: marketing], every part suffers with it;
- if one part is honored [read: leader], every part rejoices with it.
- (Is this how your ministry operates?)
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
- Ministry leaders have to ask themselves: Am I a member of the body of this ministry? Or do I see myself alone as the ministry?
- Marketing staffers have to ask themselves: Do I see the donor as a member of the body of this ministry? Or simply as a target of my sales operation … a tool to be employed in the process of accomplishing something else?
When we come to see our ministry as part of God’s grand design, part of Christ’s own body, we may find ourselves communicating differently with our donors — and with our colleagues on the job.