Modules

Integrity

Loyalty 

Unity

Core Values

The Core Values series of lessons covers what makes New Hope International Church unique. Our core values describe who we are as a community. While our goals and strategies may change according to the circumstances, our core values will not change. They guide how we treat each other and how we serve God.

Lesson 13: Unity Is the Key to Teamwork

Introduction

            Unity is essential for effective teamwork. Our church will not achieve its goals if we lack unity. We must be careful to cultivate unity in the church. Building unity takes deliberate effort on everyone’s part. It also requires us to submit ourselves to the leading of the Holy Spirit who helps to create God-centered unity. We must be aware of what builds unity and what tears down unity. To help build unity, each person must:

·         Put the purpose of the team ahead of his or her purposes.

·         Share a common passion to make disciples and build glorious churches, full of the fire of God.

·         Have a common concern for lost souls.

·         Prefer others over ourselves and look out for the interests of other people on the team.

·         Yield to the Holy Spirit and be cleansed from wrong attitudes by the fire of God.

·         Recognize and respect the different gifts that God has given to each of us.

 

Psalm 133

How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

Discussion question

What are the key factors that create unity in a team? What brings disunity?

1.    A common goal

Having a common goal is a prerequisite for unity on a team. Any group of people must first agree on their goal before they can start working together.

 

Amos 3:3

Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction? (NLT)

 

            If we can choose who to work with, the most important criteria should be whether those people share our goals or not. Having a common goal is more important to unity than how gifted a person is, how zealous they are, or even how much we like them as a person. Those other things are nice, but we cannot base our teamwork on those things. The foundation of our teamwork is a common goal that we agree on.

            In our church, we need to be careful about who we allow to become leaders. We must be careful to choose people who share our values and church vision of making disciples and building glorious churches all over the world. If we allow people to rise up to become leaders who do not share our common heart and vision, we risk having a split in the church in the future.

            This principle of having a common goal is true in the church, but it is also true in other areas as well. For example, we need to choose a spouse that agrees with us in the goal of serving God wholeheartedly. Otherwise, our marriage will face turmoil in the future. Paul warned the Corinthians to be careful about entering into commitments—such as marriage or business ventures—with unbelievers because the Corinthians could not expect to share common goals with unbelieving partners.

 

2 Corinthians 6:14

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?

 

            To summarize, the extent that we can commit to work together as a team with others depends on the extent that we agree in our goal. If we share little in common as our goal, we have little basis for our teamwork. However, if we completely share a common goal, then we have a strong basis for teamwork.

2.    One mind and one heart

It is not enough to have a common goal—that is just the basis for teamwork, but it’s not enough to make it work well. To be an excellent team, we must share the same heart and mind. This means we must be motivated by the same desires and work together in unison.

 

1 Corinthians 1:10

I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. (NLT)

 

Philippians 2:2

Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. (NLT)

 

            As we work together, we will have differences in opinion. However, God desires unity in teamwork that comes from having one heart and one mind. As a church made up of all kinds of people, how can we work together with one heart and one mind?

1.      Common heart desire. First, we must look at the example of Jesus in the Bible. By examining what He said and did, we can find a basis for like-mindedness. For example, we read in the Bible that Jesus died for the sake of the church and even now is building up the church as a perfect bride for Himself (Acts 20:28, Ephesians 5:25-27). Therefore, we should have a common passion to build glorious churches that are ready for the coming of our Lord Jesus.

2.      Cleansing by the fire of God. Another way that we can have a united heart and mind is by being cleansed by the fire of God. When we are filled with the holy presence of God, He burns out all the impure attitudes and desires. Instead of sinful desires, we are guided by the Holy Spirit to do the will of God.

 

The early church shared the same heart and mind because they were cleansed from self-interest by the fire of God. Acts 2 describes how the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples in the upper room as tongues of fire. Afterwards, the Bible describes how the growing church, cleansed by the Holy Spirit of self-centeredness, lived to build the church and obey the Great Commission that Jesus had laid down for them before He rose to heaven.

 

Acts 2:42-47

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

 

Acts 4:32-33

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.

 

            When we are united in the purposes of God with one heart and one mind, He will bless us. God blesses unity.

3.    Humility and mutual submission

We must be willing to lay aside our personal preferences, selfishness, and pride for the sake of unity in the church. We must be willing to yield to consensus unless it is a matter of conscience before God.

 

Ephesians 5:21

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

 

            To practice mutual submission, we must have humility toward one another. Being humble will help us to work together with others. Proud people often have trouble working well with others because they are unwilling to share the spotlight or submit to other people who they think are less smart than they are.

            We should remember to be humble like our Lord Jesus. If we are leaders, we should be careful about giving responsibilities to proud people because it will destroy unity. A proud and capable person will be less effective in the church than a less competent but humble person who knows how to work well with others. God has grace on the humble, but resists the proud.

 

Philippians 2:3-5

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. (NLT)

4.    Respecting each person’s ability, gift, and calling

God made us all unique and put us together in the church body to complement one another. We may have a tendency to exaggerate our own area of interest, experience, or ability and to minimize the importance of other people’s gifts and calling. If unchecked, this tendency can limit our effectiveness.

 

Romans 12:3-6

Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

 

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. (NLT)

 

We need to understand how we fit into God’s overall plan and not force ourselves to the forefront. Instead of trying to make everyone else a cookie-cutter replica of ourselves, we must recognize the value of each person on our team and encourage them to excel in the ability, gift, and calling that God has for them. When we build up others and free them to function in their own ability and gift, we actually enhance our own efforts because God uses each person’s strengths. We should encourage diversity of gifts and abilities, but unity in vision and purpose.

 

1 Corinthians 12:14-21

Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?

 

But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” (NLT)

5.    Supporting one another

Finally, to build unity in the church, we need to support one another as we work together. We are coworkers, brothers and sisters, and fellow soldiers in the cause of Christ. We can show our support for one another by providing loving correction, encouragement, and patience with our brothers and sisters when they need it.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:14

Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. (NLT)

 

            We should not abandon our brothers and sisters when they stumble or fall into trouble. Instead, we should think like soldiers on the battlefield who will not leave their wounded comrades.

 

Galatians 6:1-2

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

 

            This type of loyal commitment to one another gives us confidence as we face challenges together. We know that our brothers and sisters will provide accountability and support when we need it.

Conclusion

            Unity is essential for successful teamwork. We must be careful to try and build up unity in the church. Each of us plays a critical role in fostering either unity or disunity in the church. We should make a deliberate effort to do the things that build unity in the church.

Discussion questions

1.      Please share one thing you learned from the lesson.

2.      What do you appreciate about unity in the church?

3.      Why do you think having a common goal is the most important basis for teamwork?

4.      What are some situations in which you can support your brothers and sisters?

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