Article by Ana Redding
Church leaders, when thinking about developing your leadership team, consider going to watch the latest superhero blockbuster! I love watching superhero films where very different and uniquely gifted individuals come together to work as a team, reconciling their differences and even using them to exponentially increase their power and effectiveness so they can accomplish their mission, which usually involves saving the world from great darkness and chaos.
I can’t really say if the creators of these fantastic stories are aware that their source of inspiration is ancient and actually divine, but I believe it is. We just have to take a good look at the way Jesus, the Son of God, built his team while he walked the earth. Diversity of background, life-story, gifts and temperaments. All brought together in a mixed group of messengers of hope, to broadcast the good news that “the Kingdom of God is at hand”, to destroy the works of darkness and to bring heaven to earth through signs, miracles and wonders. This beautiful script originated in the heart of God and it hasn’t been exhausted yet. The world longs for the sons and daughters of God to be revealed (Romans 8:19) and Jesus’ final words to his disciples clearly charged them with a Great Commission to go into all the world and make the truth of the Gospel known to all creation (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19-20). The world, creation…these are vast, incredibly diverse fields! How can we genuinely fulfill this divine worldwide commission?
We start with our church and our own neighbourhood, town or city in mind. When building a ministry team, diversity is key if we want to gain perspective on how to lead the church in a broader way, so we can expand on every quadrant within and beyond the physical walls of a building. A ministry team that is diverse enough to represent different aspects of the heart of God, will be more effective and holistic in the way it can relate to, serve and impact not only immediate family but also the community at large.
The intentional embrace of diversity is not without challenges, though. A panoply of multi-coloured threads woven together can become a beautiful tapestry or turn into a confusing or unclear amalgamation of untidy knots. But just as “unique” doesn’t mean alone or isolated, diverse doesn’t mean disperse or incompatible. Unity of heart and purpose become foundational requirements in this process. To achieve them it is vital that all team members have a clear picture or vision of the desired outcomes as well as of their individual and corporate roles (in articulation with everyone involved). Even high-performance engines will not work to their full capacity if all the different components are not well oiled, well fitted and working together for the common goal.
God himself has openly acknowledged the unlimited power of unity, even when He is not in the picture (Genesis 11:6). Imagine what can happen when He is the Master Builder and we follow the blueprints of Heaven found in the Scriptures and revealed by the Holy Spirit. Jesus, our model, made sure we knew the foundational value of unity for Heaven’s blueprint to be recognised and enacted. He lived in unity with the Father and His disciples, and He prayed for unity in such a way that He left no room for doubt about its pivotal role. Unity is a window into God’s perfect love, His nature, His ways. It’s the canvas that tangibly displays and gives credible substance to the invisible reality of the unseen realm. Unity ignites faith as it becomes proof that God is real, Jesus is real, salvation is real (John 17:20-23). Oh, may we all get this!
We are not superheroes but we are supernatural. The synergetic potential of teamwork has been divinely ordained before the beginning of times (Ephesians 2:10), which means He has designed us and equipped us for this. Renouncing fear, and rooted in love, let’s step into this beautiful invitation to experience and express God’s fullness through unity in diversity. It’s the Kingdom way, so irresistibly beautiful that the world will not be able to overlook it any more. We are not superheroes but we are supernatural. Our God has given us the power and the intelligence (2 Timothy 1:7) to attract to Him those who eagerly look forward to taste and see the extravagant, life changing goodness of God.