Teamwork And Its Worth
Brother Felmar Serreno: While there is no “I” in team, some say there is an “m-e.” On the other hand, many believe there is strength in numbers. But, are numbers enough? Join us today in this episode of the podcast version of God’s Message magazine, as we take a look at “Teamwork and Its Worth.”
Teamwork is essential in organizations, big and small—from business corporations and government institutions to society’s basic unit, the family, and at its core, marriage. Its coinage and use in the study of labor and management is placed in the early years of the 20th century, thus, teamwork is actually a fairly new term. Nevertheless, the concept of teamwork has been in existence and practice long before, as can be gleaned in historical and even biblical accounts.
Many experts and thought leaders have formulated their principles and ideas about teamwork in various settings. Emphasis has been laid on the value of team building in companies and agencies in both the private and public sectors. Instilling “team spirit” in the workforce is an ideal that leaders of organizations put into practice.
The Bible, proven useful for the instruction and motivation of people to reach their fullest potential, contains teachings about unity and brotherhood, which may also provide a framework for effective teamwork as applied in various settings.
No ‘I’ in teamwork
Brother Felmar: A basic rule in teamworking is to acknowledge that while one person working alone may produce the desired outcome, two and more people working together as one can certainly yield greater results. The Bible likewise teaches:
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. … Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
[Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12 New International Version 2011]
Brother Felmar: Indeed, an endeavor becomes easier and promises better returns when a team of two or more are working together harmoniously and synergistically rather than just one individual working solo. Amid things like challenges and threats, having a well-functioning team behind you helps ensure success, for in case one falls, the others can help him up. A team can be likened to a cord—the more strands it has, the more it cannot be quickly broken.
Together, Everyone Achieves More
Brother Felmar: There is strength in numbers only when everyone works together, not against one another. In searching for the best model of teamwork and unity, one need not look far as there is much to learn from the human body itself. A single body is made up of many different parts, each having its own function or purpose—feet for walking, hands for working, eyes for seeing, ears for hearing, etc. (I Corinthians 12:12, 15-17 Good News Bible).
Every part matters to the welfare of the whole body, for it is when “each part of the body is joined to the others by the ligaments and as each part functions properly / works as it should, a person’s body grows stronger” (Ephesians 4:16 Translation for Translators).
Likewise, for a team of people to achieve good results, the team members should fulfill their respective tasks, each of them working effectively as he or she should. One’s function may seem small compared to another’s but when put together, contributes to a great output.
One for all, all for one
Brother Felmar: A key aspect of successful teamwork is cooperation. But there can be no cooperation in a team if its members are more focused on the “me” rather than the “we” and refuse to acknowledge that each one’s contribution to the team’s output is as valuable as anyone else’s. It will do them well to heed the biblical advice to:
do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others
[Philippians 2:3-4 New International Version 2011]
Brother Felmar: Working as a team also entails that the strong should bear the failings of the weak and help them become stronger (Romans 15:1-2 New International Version; Easy-to-Read Version). This doesn’t mean that the negligence of some is tolerated. But, while the disorderly needs to be admonished, they also need to be dealt with patience, encouragement , and support (I Thessalonians 5:14 World English Bible).
One team, one goal
Brother Felmar: Teamwork requires cohesiveness. What firmly binds a team together is having a common goal or purpose. While a good distribution of tasks among team players makes the work easier, having unity of purpose in working altogether proves highly rewarding not only for the team as a whole but also for each individual worker. This was highlighted in Apostle Paul’s illustration of how a team of two farmers—”the one who plants and the one who waters”—benefits from their cooperative work: Apostle Paul pointed out that it is when they “work together with the same purpose, both will be rewarded for their own hard work” (1 Corinthians 3:8 New Living Translation).
Having one purpose is equivalent to having one mind. Thus, in calling for unity, it should be stressed that there should be no schism, division or discord, or lack of adaptation of the members to each other; rather, each should have the mutual interest in or concern for one another (I Corinthians 1:10 King James Version; Amplified Bible).
In unity there is strength
Brother Felmar: Unity is good and pleasant, especially among brethren (Psalms 133:1). A good team, then, is that whose members treat one another as family. For a family to stand strong, it needs the proper guidance and proper direction of a worthy leader, for just as with “lack of guidance a nation falls” (Proverbs 11:14 New International Version), so also “a house divided against itself will fall” (Luke 11:17 New International Version).
Thus, in teaching His disciples about unity, the Lord Jesus Christ uses the metaphor of a vine and its branches. Only by being firmly joined to the vine can the branches bear fruit or produce good results (John 15:2, 5). So is a team without a worthy leader guiding it is bound to end in failure.
The more wise counsel
Brother Felmar: Even a dream team will need all the advice they can get to ensure success, for “the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances” (Proverbs 11:14 The Message). Many studies have been made and various approaches have been developed in the pursuit of teamwork, whether for the workplace or home, or anywhere else. But, above all that human knowledge can offer, the best counsel that should be consulted by teams and individuals alike are the words of God in the Bible. For,
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living, so that the person who serves God may be fully qualified and equipped to do every kind of good deed.
[II Timothy 3:16-17 Good News Bible]
Brother Felmar: For more articles like these, get your copy of God’s Message Magazine from a member of the Church Of Christ. You can also listen and subscribe to this podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, and on the INC Media mobile app. Thank you for listening. I’m Brother Felmar Serreno. God bless.