God is building His team in reverse fashion compared to professional sports teams. Athletic scouts go out looking for athletes who already have the gifts and talents needed, and recruit them to play. God, on the other hand, calls individuals to join Him and then gives them the gifts they need to be a team player with others who are called.
Therefore, if you are a Christian, you have been called by God to join His eternal family (team). When you were called, you were given a spiritual gift(s)—perhaps commensurate with your natural talents and abilities, perhaps not—that makes you part of God’s “team” (1 Corinthians 12:18).
As a Christian, you have no doubt heard the doctrine of spiritual gifts in the body of Christ (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4; 1 Peter 4). You may even know what your spiritual gift(s) is and be exercising it fruitfully in ministry.
Becoming a Team Player
There are wonderful benefits to being a member of God’s eternal team—no tryouts, no “All Star” competition, you can’t get cut from the team, and there will always be a position for you to fill. So you have built-in job security in a job for which you are perfectly qualified!
All you have to do is discover your spiritual gift(s) and begin to use it in the position for which it is best suited. When that happens, Paul says, the whole church begins to function like a human body—the body of Christ. Just as the parts of a body working together allow a person to accomplish his or her personal mission, so each member of Christ’s body allows Him to accomplish His purpose in the world (1 Corinthians 12:12-31; Ephesians 4:11-16).
“Individual commitment to a group effort—that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work” (Vince Lombardi). I don’t think the great coach would have minded if I add that individual commitment to a group effort is what makes the church work as well. Not pure human effort, mind you—the church is different in that regard. It’s the supernatural empowerment of the Spirit working in us. When we are cooperating with Him, great things for God’s glory will happen.
Are You Eligible?
May I suggest the following for you to consider with regard to your status as a team player in the body of Christ?
First, are you on the team? Have you given your life to Christ and joined God’s forever family? You can’t be a team player if you’re not on the team!
Next, make sure you know the gift(s) God has given you. If you’re not sure what gift(s) our Coach has given you, ask Him—He wants you to know and promises not to criticize you for asking (James 1:5). He’s the one who invited you to be part of the team and wants nothing more than for you to be a contributing member.
Finally, look around at all the marvelous positions you might fill in the body of Christ. Many positions are available that call for gifts like the ones God has given you—and many of them are outside the venue of your local church. But let me say emphatically that the first place Christian team members should look to serve is in their own local church. But sometimes your gift(s) may need a broader or deeper playing field than your church can provide.
For instance, your gift(s) might be perfectly suited for missionary agency administration or support, audio or video broadcast ministry, open-air or inner-city evangelism, publishing ministry, Internet or multimedia ministry, medical service or administration . . . the list is as long as the list of needs in our world.
Are you ready to be a team player? You’ve been given the gifts you need—and the rest is up to you. It’s what’s in your heart that will either accelerate or hinder the advancement of God’s kingdom in the world. So step up and be the team player God called you to be—for the kingdom’s sake and God’s glory.
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point for God, and serves as Senior Pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
For more information about Turning Point, go to www.DavidJeremiah.org.