Not a one-man show
In any culture, coaches know the importance of team. From a small public school to the NFL, coaches comprehend the power of building a team. Teamwork brings together the best of everyone enabling a common man to do uncommon things. Coaches have special insight that seems foreign to some leaders, including charitable organizations such as ministries and churches. A coach recognizes that his success is based not on his physical prowess and genius but on his ability to create a dynamic team of people who believe in each other. It’s not about him — he understands that it is not a one-man show.
But HE can conquer the world
I cannot think of anyone who can conquer the world by Himself other than Jesus. (He is literally out of this world!) He was born of a virgin, turned the water into wine, and not only healed people, but raised people from the dead. (He raised from the dead Himself!) He commanded a storm to stop and it listened to Him. He fed thousands of people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. He forgives sin, thousands upon thousand of angels worship Him.
The BIG question is IF He can do everything Himself, WHY would He build a team?
And as great as He is, it’s puzzling WHY He would recruit such a motley group. By the world’s standard, He would be deemed a lousy general manager. Like the Pharisees and Sadducees, we would ridicule Him if He showed up with such a disparate team of people. We would call Him crazy and out of His mind just as His own relatives did on at least one occasion.
This past 2 weeks I enjoyed a longer vacation with my wife. It just happens that this is also the busiest time of the month for our ministry. Several weeks before we left, I felt anxious about being absent during this busy time. The main focus of our ministry, however, is discipleship and training, and so I had to model what I teach — that the mission continues even without the presence of the leader. That’s exactly what happened while I was gone.
A team of capably trained volunteers
The FHL team executed the ministry with excellence, even implementing new things without me. They created forms, updated procedures and strengthened the team bond. Similar to the early disciples, they relied on each other in the midst of challenges. They proved that FHL is not a one-man or a one-woman show, but a team of capably trained volunteers.
Creating missional community
This is what our ministry is all about. We emphasize the importance of training leaders who can then train their volunteers, who in turn influence others through their words and actions. We are now seeing the fruit of our labor in a small community in Indianapolis (zip code 46208) through working with food ministries and other charitable community organizations. There is more training going in the area and we are continually uncovering the deeper needs of people. As we continue to define the broader role of food pantries and soup kitchens, we are able to connect those in need with other available resources beyond receiving a bag of food. We are creating a missional community.
S0 the next question is, since teamwork is vital to the success of ministry, WHY is discipleship (training) not at the top of the list for many ministries and churches? We teach about it, but I have found and surveys have shown that a large percentage of professed Christians are not able to share the Good News with others. In fact, many feel that it is the job of the pastor and leadership to explain the gospel of Jesus Christ to others. I often hear from many leaders that only a small percentage of their congregation do the work of the church or the ministry. Although there may not be a single answer to resolve this chronic problem, I think more time and effort needs to be expended training and discipling people so that there will be spiritual reproduction.
In my more than ten years of experience, I have seen food pantries that were unable to serve others without the leader and soon had to close their doors because there were no succession plans. Even worse, I have seen a ministry put on hold because the pastor was not present during the service days, and volunteers, though they had compassionate hearts, were not equipped to make simple decisions to attain the goal of the ministry.
Breaking the mold
Jesus modeled discipleship for us. He knew He had 3 years to teach His uneducated and poor trainees and He stuck with it. He taught them in words and in action, specifically coaching them in how to make disciples. He tutored them one on one and He trained them as a team. He showed them that they couldn’t do it alone. He not only proclaimed the Kingdom of God but demonstrated it. He endowed them with the Holy Spirit who would work with them to conquer the world for Christ. Jesus modeled the power of building a team. He is the greatest coach ever to walk on earth.
A solution that could change the world
This small team of 12, this motley group conquered the world. In the Old Testament Zechariah said in Zechariah 4:10, “Who dares despise the day of small things…” And then Jesus reminded His early disciples in the New Testament, “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’” One city after another, the disciples conquered the world. In our current culture, it might be one zip code after another. Discipleship is the Great Commission, and if effort is put forth there, the world could be won for the Kingdom through common people doing uncommon things together. Your team could change the world… in your own neighborhood!