“You have to admit that Jesus was an incredible leader. He hired twelve incompetent guys. None of His disciples had any experience in becoming “fishers of men.” The only one with any real education was Judas, and he was Jesus’ only turnover problem. And yet, with this diverse, seemingly ragtag group, Jesus changed the world forever.”
Laurie Beth Jones – Teach Your Team To Fish
Forward by Ken Blanchard
The world continues to change and how Christians are making an impact in the world today is a subject of much debate. The Barna Group, a “firm that is widely considered to be the leading research organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture” (Barna.org), conducted a study among unchurched adults that showed nearly four out of every ten non-churchgoing Americans (37%) said they avoid churches because of negative past experiences in churches or with church people” (Millions of Unchurched Adults Are Christians Hurt by Churches But Can Be Healed of the Pain).
There’s much more that must be researched about why people are unchurched or about how Christians are making a change in the world today. I found one thing very interesting in the Barna research and that had to do with the discovery that communication and relational issues were often cited as hindrances for those individuals seeking healing and forgiveness in these situations.
That does not sit so well given the fact that living in community and working in team was first and foremost God’s idea as reflected in the work of the Holy Trinity. In Genesis 1:26 God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness.” There are other scripture references that clearly give us the knowledge that we are to experience God’s mission here on earth by working together to change the world. But knowing does not always equate with doing. James 1:22 reminds us that we must not only be hearers of the Word, but doers as well. Otherwise we deceive ourselves. And, we may just be the very ones who discourage others at the same time.
Perhaps there is at least one overarching thing we can observe about Jesus and His disciples that we may be overlooking today. The disciples spent every waking minute learning not only what they needed to be, but also developing their skiils in how they were to accomplish that together. Jesus guided them along the way as they worked through communication issues and as they went about resolving their conflicts.
He modeled for them the principles they needed to put into practice in building up their team and allowed them to learn how to problem solve collectively.
As we think about the Christian communities to which we belong, one question that comes to my mind is, “how much intentional time is set aside for training and development” in areas such as:
- Resovling Conflict
- Problem Solving
- Team Building
The next question that naturally follows is, “would we stand a better chance of changing the world if our interpersonal and communication skills were so in tune that we truly appeard as a team that was cohesive, collective, congential and committed?”
What are your thoughts?
Pamela Bosworth – Assistant Director
The Salvation Army – USA Southern Territory
Jack McDowell School for Leadership Development
Jones, Laurie Beth. Teach Your Team to Fish. Three Rivers Press, New York, 2002.
“Millions of Unchurched Adults Are Christians Hurt by Churches But Can Be Healed of the Pain.” 2010. The Barna Group. <http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/12-faithspirituality/362-millions-of-unchurched-adults-are-christians-hurt-by-churches-but-can-be-healed-of-the-pain>.
Note: Visit www.MissionMover.org to download “TEAM: Together Experiencing A Mission” resources containing information about the Biblical approach to building and sustaining an effective leadership team.