I recently had the privilege of guest posting on What’s Best Next on the subject of organizational versus individual effectiveness in the church. As I’ve thought about this mindset shift, one metaphor kept popping into my mind. I omitted it in the guest post for brevity’s sake, but I wanted to share it here.
I like to illustrate organizational effectiveness with one of the most oddly hilarious shows on television: the Celebrity Apprentice. It’s a garish, over-the-top, drama-filled masterpiece of out-of-context editing – but it’s also a great way to talk about church productivity.
A Team with Various Strengths
If you’ve never seen the show, it’s a contest where a variety of celebrities are put together into teams and are given all sorts of business-related challenges. The team that performs the best lives to play another day, while someone from the losing team is fired.
You may have a supermodel, a famous director, and a country music songwriter on a team together – all sorts of people with all sorts of passions and strengths.
If the task is to film a commercial for a clothing product, it’s not exactly rocket science to assign jobs to the celebrities. Who should model the clothing in the commercial? Hmm… maybe the supermodel? Maybe the director should direct the commercial, and the country music songwriter can write a jingle.
Here’s the important part: everyone is focusing in an area of their strength – but why? It’s not so that they feel good about themselves. It’s because when everyone is operating in their strengths, the team is most effective at their given task.
I Don’t Feel Called
But what if the task were something that didn’t really require a player’s particular strengths? What if the supermodel and the director are working on things that they’re skilled at, but the country music songwriter has no gifting for the task?
How should he respond?
“You know guys, I just don’t really feel called to this. I don’t feel really gifted for this particular task. It’s really not where my passions lie – so I’m just going to sit this one out. I’ll be thinking about you and wishing you well and praying for you – and maybe on the next task I’ll have something to do that plays to my strengths. I’ll be your man then!”
You wouldn’t dare say that unless you were itching to hear the Donald scream, “You’re fired!”
Instead, you roll up your sleeves and get to work. You might be passing out fliers, coordinating caterers, or running to the store to get supplies for everyone else. You’re doing whatever you can do that meets the burning needs of the team. Your concern is for the performance of the team and not simply just showcasing your unique set of skills.
We serve a Great God
But here’s a glorious difference between Celebrity Apprentice and church effectiveness: Donald Trump isn’t omniscient, all-loving, and all-wise.
We serve a God who knows our strengths. He is, after all, the one that gave them to us. We honor him by discovering them and using them to serve through and in our church. It’s a joy to bring him glory in this way.
But when the best thing for the church doesn’t seem like a fit for us, doesn’t seem necessarily the most glamorous, or doesn’t seem interesting or fun, we serve a God who rewards our behind-the-scenes actions. Very few men may praise those ushering, serving in the nursery, cleaning the sanctuary, or faithfully praying for church leaders – but I can’t wait for these humble workers to stand before the Father and hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
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