Summary: It's important for us to foster a sense of teamwork and togetherness to fulfill our mission.
SERIES: IT: Finding It, Keeping It, and Sharing It
(freely adapted from Craig Groeschel’s It: How Churches and Leader Can Get it and Keep it)
“WE EXPERIENCE IT TOGETHER”
We’re in our third message in our series, “IT: Finding It, Keeping It, and Sharing It.” The first message was called, “What Is It?” We defined it this way – “It is what God does through a rare combination of certain qualities found in his people.” Those qualities are: 1. A passion for his presence 2. A deep craving to reach the lost 3. Sincere integrity 4. Spirit-filled faith 5. Down-to-earth humility 6. Brokenness.
Last week we started to investigate the traits that marked churches that had it and see how we can develop those traits in our congregation The first quality was a God-given, God-breathed vision and we said that “You Can See It Clearly.” This morning we’re going to look at becoming a tightly-knit team because “We Experience It Together.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower – “It is better to have one person with you than three people working for you.” Churches that have it enjoy it together. They have an unmistakable camaraderie. Anyone close to them can see it. They can feel it. There is affinity, community, fraternity, and sincerity. It is Christianity at its best. The people love being together.
Pollster George Barna conducted an interesting study which revealed that 92 pecent of Americans claim to be independent. For many people, independence is a goal. They want to be financially independent – I don’t need to depend on anyone for money. They want to be professionally independent – I don’t want to report to anyone. And they want to be relationally independent – I don’t need anyone or answer to anyone.
A business man or woman wants to believe they’re a self-made man or a self-made woman. Many athletes are more concerned with their own performance than with the results of their teams. Even in marriages, people are often more concerned with what they can get instead of what they can give.
Relational scars contribute to the desire to function alone. Maybe you’ve opened yourself up to someone and you’ve been hurt in exchange. You’ve shared your personal hurt but have had others belittle your pain. You gave your heart to someone who walked away and rejected you. So you’ve decided to be independent, not needing anyone. Like Simon and Garfunkel, you sing the classic folk song: “I have no need for friendship; friendship causes pain. It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain. I am a rock. I am an island.” After being burned, now you live like so many others as a rock or an island.
As long as you’re afraid of intimacy and spiritual partnership, you won’t likely experience it. To have it, you have to share it with each other. Just as there’s no I in team, there is no it in independence. Craig Groeschel said, “When it walks alone, vultures circle and obituaries are written.”
This morning, I invite you to look with me at the early church. They had it in Jerusalem. 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.”
WE PREPARE TOGETHER
One of the first things you see in the early church is the deep commitment to studying God’s Word together. It was a commitment to know and understand what God wanted to do through them both corporately and individually.
Studying God’s Word together and spending time together in fellowship brings us closer to God and closer to each other. But more importantly it helps us determine and define our vision and our purpose in being the body of Christ in our community.
Imagine putting together a ten-thousand piece puzzle. If your role is to put ten pieces together in the corner, buy you have no idea what difference your part makes, you!’’ quickly grow bored or frustrated. You’ll want to know what you’re contributing to. What will the completed puzzle look like?
When a person understands and embraces the mission, they’ll enjoy and appreciate the camaraderie of sacrificing together. They willingly give up some things they love for something they love even more – reaching people for Christ. Mother Theresa said, “None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.”