Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (Romans 12:3-5, NIV)
As I focus on the ministry God has given me, I tend to get self-centered in my thinking. I forget that my ministry is actually our ministry.
You’ll find this true no matter what your area of Christian service. For me, it’s publishing. God has called me to communicate His truth through the written and recorded word. And publishing is definitely a team effort. It involves a wide range of people: writers, arrangers, producers, performers; product developers, editors, managers; artists, computer operators, printers, packers; promotions, marketing, and sales people. If any one of these does less than his or her best, the whole ministry is weakened.
This can sometimes bring a feeling of frustration and helplessness. But the fact is, God designed the Body this way. Whatever our task, whatever need we are addressing, it is bigger than any of us could ever handle alone. To meet that need, we must work together. We must hold each other up. In His wisdom and love, God has made us dependent, not only on Himself, but on one another.
God is patiently teaching me to work as a member of His Body. He has already shown me several lessons.
First, I need to think of each task as a team effort, not as a one-person show. That changes my mind-set as I approach the work. What can I do to help the team? How can I help the others be at their best?
Second, I need to think of others as team members and treat them that way. Even in Christian ministry, it’s easy to think of fellow workers as obstacles, adversaries, or competitors. But such a spirit only betrays our self-centeredness. The truth is, we can only succeed as those with whom we work succeed.
And that leads to point three. An important part of my investment in any project is praying for the others involved. I’m learning this more and more. Such prayer fills several important functions:
1. By praying, I reach beyond myself and acknowledge that this is God’s project, from beginning to end. As I prayerfully depend on others, I am depending on Him.
2. Praying for team members helps them be more productive. It is exciting to pray for fellow workers, then watch the miracle of God working through them.
3. Prayer keeps my attitude right toward my fellow workers. Prayer draws me to them and helps me love them as people. It strengthens my sense of our unity in God. As I pray for my fellow workers, I begin to see myself, not as the center of my field of ministry, but as a small part of a broad and wonderful whole–as broad and as wonderful as God himself.
Whatever your ministry, begin to think, work, and pray as a member of the team–the team that God himself assembled to accomplish that work. When you work as a member of Christ’s Body, You are working in Him. And for the servant of God, there is no higher goal.