When I was in the Army, there were two crucial lessons that were drilled into our heads as they tried to form us young college students into future officers. One was the essential idea of teamwork. The second was the essential action of ownership. Without a team, the mission is next to impossible to accomplish. Without ownership (which includes the leader owning his/her tasks AND the team owning their tasks), the mission is next to impossible to accomplish.
The concept of teamwork has been talked about so much that it has become a bit trite (especially phrases like “There’s no ‘I’ in Team”) but it is nonetheless crucial. If any organization is going to accomplish a mission that is beyond the ability of a single person, teamwork is essential. The modern Church mentality however is very individualistic. We think in terms of “me” and “my” and less in terms of “we” and “our” (just listen to most modern worship music!) If the local church is going to have impact, church members must change they way they think about being a part of the local church. In 1 Corinthians 12:27-28 St. Paul speaks to this when he says, “Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it. And God has placed these in the Church.” As we discover this truth our perspective begins to change. We begin to understand that we are in this together and we need each other in order to be healthy and effective as the Body of Christ. Earlier in that same Chapter St. Paul says, “For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many are one body –so also is Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12)
When this happens, and we begin to think of ourselves as a team, we begin to let go of the idol of self-focus and move into the far more productive place of mission focus. Our thoughts begin to center on “What can I do to help the Body of Christ advance the mission of Christ?”
This naturally moves to the topic of “Ownership”. Better said, we have to take ownership of our place and role on the team that advances the mission. Things that distract from or run counter to this, should be avoided. Again I think St. Paul’s words to a young Church are helpful, “But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.” (Colossians 3:8) Few things are as destructive to the team, the Body of Christ, as gossip. But the concept of ownership also moves us to action. If you see a visitor that is not being greeted, go greet them! If you see a need that is not being met, be part of meeting that need. It is not unusual to hear things like “We really need to….” or “Why don’t we…” Often I will say, “Great idea! Run with it!” Only to be met with “Well, I don’t want to DO it….” or “I’ll help but I don’t want to be in charge of it.” If God has placed on your heart a ministry, a Bible Study, a need, then take ownership! At our church one woman wanted to start a mid-week Bible study for women. I told her to go for it. I just wanted to review the material (which was fine). She took the ball and ran and I loved seeing these women week after week studying the Word together.
Two ways YOU can be a Champion for your church. Embrace the Biblical idea of being a part of the team and take ownership for your role in it.