Those Championship Churches: Leaders and Their Flocks With Their Eye on The Only Thing That Matters

Posted: June 12, 2015 in 1 Corinthians

1 Corinthians 1:10-17 — After reminding the church at Corinth what they all have in common, Paul begins to address the issues that are dividing the church there. He reminds them what they are here for and that they are on the same team.

Have you ever wondered what made a championship team different from the rest of the teams. Some of us have had that opportunity before on some type of team. Some of us have had a chance to be part of championship team types of companies even if we have not had a chance to be on a championship sports or academic team. What makes them different? What makes them special? Championship teams are those that place the needs of the team or the company above their personal needs. To a man (and to a woman) within these teams or organizations, each one feels as though what is best for the team is more important than their personal feelings. When we play on championship teams, there is a sense of unity among the players or if a company among the employees. There is a common goal that binds them. To be the best at what they do is the goal. Every person on the team from the starting quarterback down to the waterboy is bought in to the team’s mission and goal. In companies, everyone from the president on down to the customer service rep that just started two weeks ago is committed to making the company the best at what it does. Everyone feels like they are part of the team. Everyone sees that their role is important to the overall success of the team or the corporation. Each one is willing to sacrifice egos to get the job done. Each one is willing to sacrifice the easy route for the hard one because the hard one is the one that builds character or success.

Have you ever seen what can destroy a team or a company? One sure-fire way for that to happen is for their to develop silos within the organization. When there are factions within a team, it fractures the team. When there are divided allegiances, people are pulled in opposing directions where there are differing agendas and differing goals. In a football team, for example, I have seen where a younger player, say a sophomore or a freshman, who is more talented and a better leader is given a starting position over a senior and the senior does not take it well and begins to create his own team within a team to make the starter look bad. When that happens the team is destroyed. Many of us have had the opportunity to be a part of those kinds of teams where there is no unity just several leaders trying to accumulate as many followers as they can. The team seems lost and forgotten in those situations. We have been part of companies that are that way too. Different parts or functions of the organization seem only out to protect their turf or to grab as much power and prestige within the organization as they can. The company becomes divided and moves nowhere and eventually such companies implode.

Paul reminds us that churches can be one or the other too. They can be championship churches or they can be the ones that destroy themselves from within. Paul reminds the church at Corinth, we should not be so concerned about what preacher we follow and but focused on the thing that unites us, Jesus Christ. God calls us together as Christ followers not to follow men but to follow Jesus Christ. When we become so concerned with whether we like this preacher or that preacher, when we try to rank ourselves by who we are aligned with within the church, then we are dead in the water. We should be less concerned about whether we agree with this preacher and not that one and more concerned about expanding the kingdom of God by spreading the good news of what Christ has done.

This concept is true for leaders as well as the flock of the church. For the flock of the church, we should not be focused on winning the favor of others. We should not be focused on creating power pockets within the church. We should not be focused on whether we are one of those hand picked favorites of the preacher. We should not let whether we like the preacher or not determine our level of commitment to the local body in which God has placed us. We should not leave churches over political struggles or whether we like the preacher’s sermons or the preacher’s actions. We should not get mad at the leaders of the church or leave a local church because you were not made a leader of something. For the flock of the church, we should realize that there is a reason that God has orchestrated us being at this church at this point in time for us to serve in the ways that He thinks we are ready for at this point in our spiritual maturity. We must be humble and see the needs of the body as greater than our own. We must serve where our talents are needed in whatever capacity that may be. Because the needs of the team are greater than the needs of our ego. We have a job to do as Christ’s church. There are lost souls who need to know of our Savior through what we do as a local body of Christ. That is the championship we need to win. We need to always have that picture in mind – that championship team in heaven filled with souls that found Christ through our local body. Think of that team picture. Think of them with Christ, the trophy, in that picture. It is not about us. It is indeed about Him! Championship churches are a collection of people who do not care if their names are in the papers. They simply care about the championship – people coming to Christ.

For leaders of churches, we must keep this in mind as well. We are not here to create kingdoms of our own. We are not here to have people say that they follow us. We are not here to create our own little kingdoms within our church bodies either. All areas of leadership must work together to lead the flock in the same direction. We must see that none of our leadership positions would be possible without the work and the inspiration of the other leaders on our leadership team. The quarterback cannot win a game without running backs and receivers and cannot win at all without an offensive line to protect him. Offense cannot win without defense either. Defense, too, must have the offense. The success of our church depends on our team of leaders working as integrated unit. Our success depends on all leaders working together. When we are out of for our own press clippings, the church becomes divided and stagnant because leadership is divided and stagnant. Tugs of war take a long time and wear people out and ultimately the rope does not really get moved very far. We as leaders must keep our eye on the prize as well. We are here not to gather followings unto ourselves. We are here to lead people to Christ. We are here to help them mature in Christ. We are here to make them disciples of Christ. We are here to make them leaders in Christ. We are here to send them out in the name of Christ. You notice that I used the name of Christ to end all five of the previous sentences. That is the case because He is what we are here for. If we lose sight of Jesus Christ, we have lost sight of the prize. We have lost sight of the goal. We have lost sight of the championship. We as leaders must work together toward the prize – glorify God through leading people to Jesus’ saving grace and maturing them in the grace gift they have been given. Nothing less than this unifying fact will win.

Father remind us all that we are to give you glory in everything we do, everything. Everything we do must be about you. Our goals should be about doing that with excellence. We should give you glory through striving for excellence and for unity. We must give you our all and for you to be it all. Help us to remember that when we get our ego bruised. Help us to remember that when we don’t get our way. Help us to remember that when we see someone cry out to Jesus Christ to be their Savior. Help us to remember that when we see someone become more and more mature in Christ. Help to remember that Jesus Christ is our prize and not whether we are gathering a following ourselves or following the right leader. None of that matters if we are not about working together to expand the kingdom of God by spreading the good news of what He has done through His Son Jesus Christ. Amen.

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