An Accepted Leader
A Common Objective and Vision of it
Agreement on methods and activities
A Certain Division of Labor
A Strong Sense of Love and Loyalty
I have written Jim’s name in parenthesis because I do not know the source that Jim selected when he used these elements to help form our Navigator teams in Kansas. He spoke of them on many occasions and many of us memorized them. As I review these periodically, I am impressed that they capture many of the principles which will enable us to finish our race well as a Kansas team and as individuals. (II Timothy 4:7-8)
An accepted leader is a prerequisite for the growth of a team. Someone must accept responsibility for the others and provide ideas, resources and encouragement to their fellow laborers. In some study groups, leadership may be partially shared for the purposes of training. For an established team of disciple makers, however, a leader is required. God does not just send a message, He sends a man. (John 1:6 states “There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.”) The leaders role is defined in I Peter 5:2-3, “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers; not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”
A common objective and vision of it can be illustrated by the personal objective of the Kansas navigators. It is stated as follows: “My objective is to know Christ in my own life in ever increasing depth and to make disciples and develop laborers at all times under any conditions in every place I go.” (Phil 3:10, John 15:8, and Matt 28:18-20) This objective has helped me immensely over the years in establishing priorities for the use of my time. For example, would being on a committee, or would traveling as a part of a state wide medical organization, help me to know Christ better? Would it permit opportunities to help others know Christ or to know Him better? Some times the answer was yes, but most often the answer was no. Unless we have an objective for our lives, we get involved in many things that should be delegated or eliminated. Someone once said: “we can hit our target a lot better if we can see it.”
Agreement on methods and activities helps us maintain our focus on that which is most productive. Dropping leaflets from the sky, for example, is not the most effective way to win the world for Christ. Although large groups are helpful to attract the curious, we must take those who are convinced of the claims of Christ in their own lives into small groups. In the small group setting, we can find those who are committed and invest our lives in them. Although a number of methods and activities can be used to lead to the opportunity to invest in individual lives, the life on life interaction itself is essential to produce maximum change in those to whom we minister. This change results in individuals who are able to impact the lives of others as well. (II Timothy 2:2)
A certain division of labor is needed among our teams as well as in the body of Christ. As we come together we bring different viewpoints, gifts and ways of expressing them in the team and in the community. I am thankful for all the ideas in ministry that are demonstrated. Each has been given their own unique gifts and calling to fulfill their role in disciple making. We have recently seen an expansion of our ministry into the universities in Kansas within the past 4-5 years. In the last year, it has extended into smaller colleges and universities. Different forms of outreach have been pioneered. The Lord does not call all of us to do what others do, but he does call us to support and encourage all who are ministering together with us.
A strong sense of love and loyalty is the bond that holds our hearts and minds together as we labor for Him. The love that our team has for one another has been expressed in prayer and in sacrificial giving of time and finances. Individuals are being comforted, encouraged and nurtured. Not only do we show this love to one another, but the Lord also uses this demonstration of love in powerful ways in the lives of others. I remember a couple who came to Glen Eyrie with Beverly and me some years ago. He was a patient of mine and had come to know the Lord late in life. She, however, was a nonbeliever, and doubted the existence of God. She had been a teenager in Britain during the bombings of WW II. In the midst of continued death and destruction, she turned her back on all forms of religion. She was willing, however, to come to the conference with her husband. At the end of the week as people shared during the last night, she stood and related the following. “For years, I have doubted the existence of God, but this conference has changed that. It was not what was said by the speakers. It was what I saw in your lives. Your love for one another is something I have never seen anywhere before. It has convinced me that God is real. He has used your lives to open my heart to Him.”
As I consider the importance of the team ministry and its calling across Kansas, I also realize that the Navigators are but a small part of the body of Christ. Many other Christian organizations, churches and communities are part of His body as well. Where appropriate, the Lord will call us to also relate to the larger body with the use of our time, our talents, and our financial resources. Our contribution to them will be maximized by the integration of the principles of the five elements of team into our relationships with them. The importance of recognizing leadership and submission to it, having an objective of making disciples, focusing on individuals, recognizing different gifts, and binding these all together with love cannot be overstated. They will have a profound effect on the lives of others and help equip them for their ministry.
We have one true, eternal, accepted leader, the person of Jesus Christ. May we sit at His feet, as did Mary, to learn from Him concerning His objective for us; His methods; His activities; that we may labor with Him in His service. May we also grow stronger daily in our love and loyalty to Him and to one another.
In Christ, Richard Spann