Wednesday Wisdom With Wyndham – 77

Wisdom Values Team

In case you haven’t heard—our favorite baseball team just won the World Series! (We were, and are, pretty fired up about this.) I emphasize the word “team” for a reason. This Boston team is not a team because they all wear red sox and have their paychecks signed by the same organization. Team means much more to them than this! They function as a team in their attitudes.

Team works together. Team values each other. Team accentuates community rather than individuality. Team sacrifices. Team relies on strengths of others. Team rejoices with another’s success. Team hurts with another’s hurt. Team offers help. Team doesn’t give up on teammates. Team communicates. Team puts the good of the whole above personal gain. Team works hard and plays hard.

Scriptures speak of teamwork again and again, as we are meant to function as a team—in community. God did not plan for us to practice our Christianity in isolation. It’s impossible to practice community in isolation.

  For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,
  so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
  We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;
  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;
  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
  Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
  Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
  Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
  Live in harmony with one another.
 (Romans 12:4-16a NIV 2011)

Wisdom understands the value of team. I have learned much about teamwork from Wyndham. For as long as I have known him, he has valued and practiced team-building. When first leading in campus ministry he always planned the ministry with a team. He pulled in campus students for planning devotionals, had lunch together with the guys, and consulted them while coaching them. He prayed, played, and did the work of the ministry together with them. He believed in them when they didn’t believe in themselves. I remember one conversation (as the ministry was growing quickly) with a brother who knew some Bible but was a new Christian. Wyndham told him he needed him to lead a Bible study group and take on responsibility. The brother assured him that he wasn’t ready for such responsibility. Wyndham told him he knew that quite well, but he was needed anyway—he was the only one he had for the job needed. God would help him. Wyndham encouraged him and walked with him, and this brother in Christ (along with many other young Christians), took on more and more responsibilities. Many of these campus students became ministers after they graduated college and remain in the ministry today, over forty years later. Throughout later ministries, Wyndham practiced the same things, because he deeply values team.

Often the older Christian and ministry leader, he has always felt the need for team. He knew he didn’t have all the answers, and that we were all learning together. While he wasn’t afraid to lead, he was inclusive. He asked advice and sought ideas, because he valued the thoughts of others–in ministry and in life. We invited most anyone we were around into our marriage and family, asking for their input whenever we were bumping, in raising kids, or even for reassurance that we were thinking well. Wyndham always included me in his thinking, eager for my input and thoughts, and let me how deeply he valued them. He still does, even though conversation is difficult because of his speech. He was inclusive, open, and eager for our kids to be part of the family team. We can’t feel like part of a team if we don’t feel needed, valued, or appreciated. Building team can’t be faked or formularized. It begins with humility.

Our beloved Red Sox have exemplified team. Their manager (Alex Cora), whether he knows it or not, has used Godly principles of team-building, as described in this excerpt from an article by Jim Hackett, written for WEEI radio.com on October 25.

When I watch what everyone labels as magic coming out of Cora this postseason, I rather see the sum of eight months of building belief in his players and that faith and strategy coming perfectly to fruition…

…Cora doesn’t look at what Ian Kinsler or Sandy Leon can’t do or what they haven’t been doing. Oh no. Cora…looks at what these players can do and thoughtfully places them in positions to succeed at what is consistently turning out to be just the right time…

… Maybe he’s smarter than other managers or more prepared. Maybe he just has razor sharp instincts or perhaps a lucky rabbit’s foot, but I don’t think so.

I think Cora works on looking for the value in each and every one of his players and started doing it the day he was hired. He finds it and lets the player know it. He lets his players know without a shadow of a doubt, that this particular skill or strengths he sees is important and that the team is going to need it.

What happens from there? Magic? No, the confidence in the player builds and builds and when the moment for magic comes, that player is ready. Find it, confirm it, reaffirm it, and use it. Then just wash, rinse and repeat.

And this championship team was built simply from practicing principles God has always known and established. Imagine what can happen when we join with God’s Spirit to build up the body of Christ. Nothing, no nothing, can stand in the way of what God can do through the power of His team. Wisdom values team.