Picture of Norwegian Men’s Olympic Ski team “Attacking Vikings”
For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Romans 12:4-5
What United Methodist can learn from and be reminded of by the Attacking Vikings!
Did you watch the winter Olympics? Did you see the “Attacking Vikings?” My wife Sandra and I enjoyed watching the Winter Olympics evenings over the last few weeks. One team captured my attention, the Norwegian Alpine men’s ski team, better known as the “Attacking Vikings” from a country with only 2.5 million men and boys this country has a team that dominates Alpine skiing. It is a small team, a third to half the size in numbers when compared to other countries’ teams and yet it “owned the slopes”.
Part of the “Attacking Vikings” secret is that they do not see skiing as an individual sport-they train and compete as a team. They have a strong sense of community. They work and play hard together! Hmmmm…..Across our history as a denomination and Methodist movement of God’s Spirit there have been seasons of outsized success or results that made big splashes and produced world shaping transformation. One of the hallmarks of these seasons was and is teamwork- people working together, aligning their efforts, putting aside differences and focusing on common goals. Teamwork, fueled by a passionate sense of God’s grace and our mission to transform and bless God’s world, moved and moves us forward with many different people, congregations and portions of a wider church-working together.
There is an oft used quote “there is no I in team!” This quote is a reminder that people need to work with each other and find ways for their views and energy to compliment or leverage the efforts of others. This past week I was listening to a sermon on “healthy relationships” and the preacher shared “there is an I in the middle of SIN”. It separates us from God, others and the deepest part of ourselves when we think or live like “its all about us” or that “I can do it by myself”.
No one person or single congregation accomplish the goals of growing disciples of Jesus Christ through vital congregations for the transformation of the world alone. We are woven together for vibrant relationship with God, each other and God’s creation.
A key word today in the outreach and connecting with new people is “engagement”. No longer can congregations unlock the door (often poorly marked) and expect new people to wander in…We must engage-people of all ages who want to make a difference, especially millennial’s, the largest generation in the United States. People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves! There is a contagious positive energy generated in healthy teams!!
I want to invite you to consider—How good is your congregation at growing and sustaining healthy teams? How good are you in being a contributing team member or leading a team, celebrating small wins and practicing together to accomplish a BIG goal? How good are we as a connectional church in sharing resources of time and talents to make an impact? Teamwork is part of our Wesleyan Way and Spiritual DNA …it is an image found in 1 Corinthians 12 as Paul describes many parts working together, as one body.
I want to welcome you to the TEAM! God’s Team here in Greater New Jersey-we must train hard together, practicing as we grow deeper in faith and intentionally make a difference in our communities. We can learn from the “Attacking Vikings” and from our own heritage as we are “Transforming Methodists-United!!!”
Teams make you better than you are, multiply your value, enable you to do what you do best, allow you to help others do their best, give you more time, provide you with companionship, help you fulfill the desires of your heart and compound your vision and effort. – John Maxwell
“Philanthropist Andrew Carnegie declared, “It marks a big step in your development when you come to realize that other people can help you do a better job than you could do alone.” To do something really big, let go of your ego, and get ready to be part of a team.”
― John C. Maxwell, The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork: Embrace Them and Empower Your Team