Thursday, January 10, 2013

Discipling Teams (the power of AND)

Like life, churches get compartmentalized.
This is our:
  • nursery/elementary age/middle school/high school team
  • cafe team
  • tech team
  • music team
  • facilities team
  • bookstore team
  • and on & on it goes.
And as our team assembles we as leaders prepare to encourage and lead them into our team's mission. And that is good. But that is not enough.

It's not enough that our focused teams excel at their areas of impact.

Our teams must be effective in their areas AND fully embrace the broader life of the church.

Let me explain: Many moons ago I walked into Oakbrook Church knowing little more than Jesus was my Savior. I came in playing drums, which I knew much about.

So weekly, I'd prep my music, show up to a mid-week rehearsal and spend all morning Sunday drumming for the service. "This is my thing," I thought. And when the pastor would talk about giving financially, for instance, I thought, "Drumming is my thing. And I spend a lot of time in a week doing it. That's my thing."

In other words, me being good at my thing in my area was my whole thing. Being good at tithing or spiritual disciplines were someone else's things.

But thanks to some good music team leadership and some off-the-stage discussions, my view of things changed. Kind but clear words came my way like,

"Guys, we have to get behind this ___________ focus of the church. We aren't just leaders musically, we need to lead in all areas of our life and get behind what the pastor is calling our church to do. Music is not the most important thing--it's part of a larger thing."

And my friend and music director gave me a devotional book by Oswald Chambers with a clear but kind expectation that I read it. And I did. And it's one of my favorite devotional books to date.

Discipleship is not just a mano-a-mano event. Teams can be discipled by leaders who pull the team into excelling at its focus AND excelling at the larger life that Jesus calls us to. That sounds huge. But...

The simple way we do that is by pulling our teams into the conversation teaching pastors are initiating from our platforms each week. By reminding our teams that embracing our task without tangibly embracing Sunday's teaching, misses the point.

So if our church has a year-end giving campaign, a missional focus in the community, an invitational focus for a big event, our little team leads in all those things.

We disciple our teams by leading them well into the task at hand AND into the greater vision that's spoken each Sunday.

We disciple our teams by focusing them on the micro AND macro.

We disciple our teams by calling them to servanthood within the team AND calling them to submission to Christ in area's our church is challenging us.

A discipling team excells at the task AND in surrendered hearts in areas outside our task.

It's possible. I've seen it. Lived it. Grown through it.
Every serving team can be a discipling team.