Growing up I was involved in almost every sport that was offered in some way or another. Some only for a season while others lasted my entire childhood. The one thing that tied almost every sport together was the concept of team. As I grew older the focus shifted more towards competition while slowly drifting from the learning aspect. I remember the teams I played on that succeeded were always driven by a common goal. Every person on the team had to believe in this goal and work together to achieve it. On a baseball team it didn’t matter how good a pitcher was if the rest of the team wasn’t ready to back him up with defense and hitting. In football it didn’t matter how good the quarterback and running back were if the offensive line couldn’t protect them and the defense couldn’t get a stop now and then. Within a team of so many individuals there must be a common movement and belief in the same direction by all to achieve a goal. This was always taught and driven home by the outstanding coaches I was blessed to have.
I believe that this concept of a team focused on a goal can be and is applied to the church. While we all have different abilities and gifts, they all serve one purpose, honoring God. This purpose drives all those who love Jesus to put aside personal preferences and tastes to strive for the common goal amongst all Christians. When we, as believers, are focused and moving in the same direction, God does amazing things among his children. We are like a winning team working together until the goal is achieved. When we are united and working together for the glory of God there are no bounds for what God is able to do.
But when the church is fractured with disunity, suffering from a lack of focus, unsure of goals, and distracted by the things that have no bearing on eternity, we flounder and at best tread water hoping just to get to the end. We are like a losing team without the drive or focus to finish what we have started. Paul describes the importance of the body of believers working towards the common goal of honoring God within the church beautifully in Romans 12.
“For as in one body we have many members,
and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many,
are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us,
let us use them….” Romans 12:4-6
This is such an amazing portrait of what the church looks like when working together under a shared vision. Each person has a function within the body; all bring something different that is absolutely needed for the church to move forward correctly. This applies to service within the church as well as service within one’s workplace, community and home. It is one of the reasons that we serve. We have gifts that are given to us to be used. Paul compels us to use them.
When applying all of this to the mission and vision of White River Christian Church it becomes clear. “Connecting every life to Jesus”, is our common goal because every life is important to God. We do this by serving within our church and in our communities, homes, and places of work. We serve because we bring something to the table that is unique to serve the whole. We give of our gifts because God has given us so much. When we serve we are showing that we believe that connecting every life to Jesus matters. We are showing we are united under one goal, one vision. You have a gift. Let us use them….