Teamwork is challenging. Recently, a friend’s daughter was describing to me her experience of taking part in the Silver Duke of Edinburgh award. The team that she had been part of was completely dysfunctional. They gathered as a group at the start of the outward bound exercise and as they discussed the route – two agreed to go one way, another preferred an alternative route and the fourth walked away in a huff! The one that had walked away did come back and they did finally all set off as a group in the same direction but the tensions continued throughout the whole exercise; whether it was with regards to carrying supplies, cooking/eating or sleeping arrangements. Not a great experience.
Working together as disciples of Jesus requires teamwork. Peter, in these early days of leading the new followers of Jesus, had learnt this the hard way and in today’s reading he is graciously and humbly sharing this. It is not about ‘lording it over those in your charge’ 1 Peter 5:v3. All of us need to ‘clothe ourselves with humility in our dealings with one another.’ v5. So no matter how much we might think we tick the box as an individual Christian in the way we live our lives, independently and in glorious isolation – that is not the ultimate solution. After all, that was the example that Jesus Himself showed us when He washed the disciples’ feet. Someone might need to stand up front and take a lead on occasions but it requires a large and committed team behind the scenes supporting and working towards an agreed end goal for the whole group to be united and achieve its objectives.
So in our church family it is not all about Andy and myself leading everything and everyone else watching from the side lines. We all have gifts – pastoral, evangelistic, apostolic, teaching and prophetical – let’s pool them and build a team going forward.