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We Are a Team!

by: Ellene Meece

Me, hold a grudge? What? You have a different opinion than me? You're asking me to come together as a team?

Ever been the person at the other end of these questions? Did you know that conflict in relationships is not a new thing? Reading from Philippians 4 in The Message, Paul has become a referee with some working team relationships. He encourages two of the women in Philippi, "I urge Euodia and Syntyche to iron out their differences and make up. God doesn't want His children holding grudges."

Later in the same chapter, he gives a fine speech on how to make people 'feel' when working together, "Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in Him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you're on their side, working with them and not against them."

Teamwork requires each person to lay down his or her own agenda and come together for the good of an overall goal. This is true in all life's combination of teams: husband and wife, workplace co-workers, church families, sports organizations.

I read a fiction story once that held real life application. It was about a private high school football team that had been coached by a bitter and negative man who only manipulated his own agenda and tore down the confidence in his young players. Consequently, the team had a string of perfect losing seasons.

In a course of circumstances, he was replaced with a young Christian man who, though he had grown up in life's most adverse situations, had come to peace with his identity in Christ. Coming into this negative, disjointed organization, he prayed and asked God to show him how to celebrate Him and support these young men in finding their true identity.

God gave him a plan. First, he taught them a team cheer that revolved around Someone bigger than themselves. At the beginning of each practice and game they would chant, "Whose way? His way!," referring to playing for God's honor and glory.

Then one day, in a football camp setting, he related to them with passion, three desperate needs with unknown families who were hurting. He asked them to compete in this camp for the prize money that was available and it would be used to help these families. They agreed. Their hearts united for a common goal . . . and against unprecedented odds, they won!

The young coach then revealed that the money would be going to families of three of their own teammates. Unbeknownst to the young men, each story was a real story . . . about three of the player's families. In their previous self-absorbed state, they didn't even know anything about each other. Didn't know that one of them had a sister who was dying of cancer, that another's family was facing homelessness after their house burned down and yet another was struggling financially because his mom was in prison and he was balancing life's responsibilities to even have money to go see her. Suddenly, their agenda was bigger than playing football. It was being a team that cared about each other.

Taking this momentum back to their hometown, they continued to play as a team, united to play "His way" and to let each other know they were on their side in all of life's punches.

The results? A winning season and an unlikely State Championship.

Even though, this is a "story" with fictional characters, it holds several truths. (1) Negative, self-absorbed living produces losing. (2) Finding a cause bigger than oneself brings a group together as a team. (3) Learning about each other and caring absolves bickering and demanding our own way.

Let's take Paul's advice in all of our team relationships: "Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you're on their side, working with them and not against them."

Ellene Meece lives in Meeker, Colorado and works with her husband in their natural resource company while running her own online store, Grandma's Treasures Online. Currently, she oversees the marketing for the FMIN Workplace Leaders Network.

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