Saturday, March 02, 2019

How Teams Win

1 Corinthians 12:4–31 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; [5] and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; [6] and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. [7] To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. [8] For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, [9] to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, [10] to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. [11] All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

[12] For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. [13] For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

[14] For the body does not consist of one member but of many. [15] If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. [16] And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. [17] If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? [18] But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. [19] If all were a single member, where would the body be? [20] As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

[21] The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” [22] On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, [23] and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, [24] which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, [25] that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. [26] If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

[27] Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. [28] And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. [29] Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? [30] Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? [31] But earnestly desire the higher gifts.

And I will show you a still more excellent way. (ESV)

As I think about the ingenious analogy here and as I contemplate all of the interesting principles, I am once again in awe of God's Word.

Every championship team I have ever coached was a UNIFIED TEAM. It is pure joy to coach young men who pour themselves into a quest, with little regard to their personal stats or roles. Some have said that T.E.A.M. is an acronym for 'Together Everyone Accomplishes More'. We have a saying at BCS- "BIG TEAM- little me". There are important keys to developing these mindsets. I want to use some of this passage to highlight these keys.
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

One of the enemies greatest attacks is to convince people that they are no good and have nothing to offer. He uses the attacks of bullies or a world of photoshopped magazine covers to beat down image bearers of the divine. Satan has built a system where height, strength, beauty, wealth, fame, popularity gets all the 'good stuff' and the average man or woman lives lives in hunched over body postures and little confidence. THE BIBLE SAYS "NO". God has created you with amazing gifts and abilities. You are made in His image and if you know Christ as Savior, you are an adopted son or daughter of the KING of the UNIVERSE. Which depiction of you are you going to start believing in?

All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually has he wills.

Don't look at what you don't have...find what you do have. You have a S.H.A.P.E.- spiritual gifts, heart desires, aptitudes, personality, experiences that are unique to you. Believe that, in time, you will discover that shape and use it to build God's kingdom in love and service to others. Don't let the world tell you anything different- God loves you and has a beautiful plan for you (John 10:10).

For the body does not consist of one member but of many.

Another problem with the world's system is the demand for everyone to be the same. The result is a mediocre middle where those who push ahead or take different paths are scoffed at or ridiculed. At the same time, others feel the pressure to be unique and avoid areas of expertise because others have achieved success in those fields. Both pressures can be mis-guided. Teams need more than one QB ready to play and they need participants in all areas from scout team, to managers and trainers, starters and stars.

My favorite success stories involve players who patiently bore their back-up roles and prepared for the day when they had to step in and win after an injury or need. When the back-up QB comes in and leads the team to victory- it inspires everyone!
And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 

I apply this in two ways.

This is such an interesting part of the passage. Bodies have parts that are 'weaker' and 'less honorable' and humans keep those parts in discretion and modesty. They are still VERY necessary. And it doesn't matter if the eye declares that it is not a part of the body- it still is.

 The saddest times I have had as a coach is when players  'talk down' to a team mate with a lesser role. 

One time I had a junior who was starting over a senior and some members of the team were badgering him about that to the point that he grew deeply depressed. When I found out about it, I hit the roof!

Needless to say, that team was not a very successful team.

But a second part is this: Don't let what others say marginalize you. It is the losers who do those types of things, why worry about what they say?

As A.D., I have situations where coaches and players are struggling but they know if they keep working hard, they might become a tough playoff team... but the biggest complicating factor are the naysayers and negative talk that come up as the record goes down. I find this the saddest when it is the parents who start chipping away at the coach.

For a team to come together and stay positive in that environment is tough... but winers find a way to do it!

But as it is, nGod arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.

My most successful teams have been willing to trust the coaches to make tough choices about positions or playing time. My favorite stories always include the guys who embraced a decision and made the best of it. One year, we asked a guy to play JV because we did not have another option at that position... not only did he do it, he became a loud and vocal leader on that team. His energy and excitement was infectious and that JV team went undefeated! But there are some guys when a coach asks them to do it, pout because it is beneath their ability... those guys are not team guys.

In the end- godly contentment begins with trusting in God's plan and timing. There was a reason why this friend was not allowed to go in that direction and only God knows all the details why and somewhat foolish for us to speculate or despair.

But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it,25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

In 1998 we went 15-0 and won the state championship. My most vivid impression of that team was how they honored every single member of that organization. They loved the managers, filmers, team docs, JV players.... it was 'laughter in the locker room and focus on the field'. Some of that stemmed from our starting running back had a brother in the band who was born with a type of dwarfism. That young man learned early the value of all people. His brother became an accomplished musician and accountant. That was a special team- no one was going to beat them.

And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 

The Bible doesn't sugar coat it- the reality is that there is a pecking order. All are valuable- but there is a first, second, third. All are equal in terms of God's love and care- but some are given more. But that extra talent carries more expectation. Go back and look at the Parable of the Talents.

But earnestly desire the higher gifts.

It is OK to have ambition to move up. That kind of drive and aspiration is encouraged. A great friend of mine used to say, "Aim for the stars- you may only hit the moon- but you hit the moon because you were aiming high." Put sweat equity in your labor. Be faithful in the little things. Be a good steward by pushing to constantly improve.


And I will show you a still more excellent way...LEADING TO I CORINTHIANS 13

My best teams have been teams built on Biblical love. A heartfelt attitude where you care for others and you are motivated to work, sweat, achieve, persevere out of a desire to do it for your brother.

Want to be a winner? Want to be on a winning team?

Believe in yourself as a person whom God has gifted- trust Him- and give yourself fully to a team effort- not caring if you get noticed because God sees you- trust in your leaders- and learn the joy of loving others well enough to lay it on the line for them.

Surround yourself with those types of people and WATCH OUT- you can move mountains!