Christianity is a Team Game

Continuing my contemplation of a few key lessons learned from sport, which Paul seems to adapt as analogies for the Christian life, I have been thinking about my own sporting history.

During training camp, one of the more critical activities was “team building”. These were designed to help develop trust and relationships between players. When corporate groups adapt this concept, it is usually seen as annoying and blown off, athletes look at it differently. Teams travel together (we did overnight 12 hours on a bus every other weekend) and bunk together (sharing hotel rooms). The success or failure of a team often turns on how well they work together on the ice/field/court.

No one outside the team knows what is happening inside the team like the players. There is a locker room mentality, a code of conduct flows from it. You don’t talk publicly about issues on the inside. You back up your team. The game MVP rarely failed to mention that the win was “a team effort” and so on.

On and off the ice/field/court the team is a team. They have each others back. They are a family, as much as anything else. It is this sort of fellowship that Paul picks up on, when he writes to the Philippians:

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. (Philippians 1:27-28).

This passage reads like a coaches “pep talk”: strive side by side, be on the same page, don’t get intimidated by your opponents, stand firm in defence. When a player tries to “do it all on their own”, they generally fail. But not only that, selfish play often leads beyond a missed opportunity to an advantage for the opposition.

Believers must learn to build up the team, and be a part of the fellowship of the gospel. Believers need to build relationships and trust in the church, to be unified and working together. How are you seeking to accomplish this? What efforts have you made to build chemistry with your line mates?

Next time: focus.