Talents, Teams, the Gospel, the Church and Ministry

Greg Strand – October 21, 2014 Leave a comment

When putting a team together, often the thought is that one gets the best players for the various positions and that will guarantee success. However, that is not always the case, as we know. The teams with the highest paid players and the owners with the highest budget do not always win.

Here is a very interesting article addressing the importance of elite athletes and the success of a team: The Surprising Problem of Too Much Talent. At the end of the day, one must recognize that it is not just about compiling the best, it is also about discerning what kind of “team” you are putting together and what sort of players best fit into the various roles in that team.

Mark Galli provides an assessment of this article:

 I found “The Surprising Problem of Too Much Talent” to be, well, surprising. It appears that if your group is more like soccer or basketball, too much talent is a problem. But if it’s more like baseball, it’s an asset. So before deciding to recruit more talent for your church committee, community task force, business, or whatever, you need to decide whether your team operates more like basketball or baseball.

This is not a Christian article written from a Christian perspective, but there are important things Christians can and should learn from this. As Christians who apply these lessons to our lives and ministries in the church, it is critical to remember that someone owns this team and He is the one who ultimately determines gifts, talents, teams, players (the priesthood) and leaders. God in all His fullness – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is the One behind it all. This is His work, not our own. We are saved by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those saved by the gospel make up a new community, the church, and this community created by the gospel now manifests the gospel to others, we are the embodiment of the gospel in the world.

In the EFCA, we summarize this truth as follows: “God’s gospel is now embodied in the new community called the church.” This is spelled out further in Evangelical Convictions (pp. 156-157, 182-183):

 But God in his grace has purposed to restore his fallen creation and to redeem a people for himself. In Jesus Christ, God has acted to rescue sinful human beings from his wrath and to reconcile them to himself. This work of Christ in his cross and resurrection is now applied to us by the Holy Spirit, who unites us with Christ so that what is true of him becomes true of us. . . . And in uniting us with Christ, the Spirit also creates a new community we call the church. The church, as those saved by God’s grace and united with Christ by God’s Spirit, becomes the embodiment of the gospel in the world.

To claim, as is often done in the church, that one is looking for the A player to place on staff may not be the wisest move for the health and well-being of the ministry. This is just one application. There are numerous others as well. What lessons do you learn and what additional applications can you discern?

As you ponder this remember the words of the Psalmist: Psalm 127:1: “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Ps. 127:1). And also add to this the words of Jesus, who is the Head of the church (Eph. 1:22; 4:15; 5:23; Col. 1:18; 2:10, 19): “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18).

 

 

Greg Strand

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Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

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