In a cracking episode of The West Wing (best drama of all time BAR NONE), White House Communications director Toby Ziegler gives this brilliant definition of teamwork to a group of interns, one of whom has leaked sensitive information to the press:
We're a group. We're a team. From the President and Leo on through, we're a team... We win together, we lose together, we celebrate and we mourn together. And defeats are softened and victories sweetened because we did them together...And if you don't like this team... then, there's the door... It's great to be in the know. It's great to have the scoop, to have the skinny, to be able to go to a reporter and say, "I know something you don't know." And so the press becomes your constituents and you sell out the team...
So, an item will appear in the paper tomorrow, and it'll be embarrassing to me and embarrassing to the President. I'm not gonna have a witch hunt. I'm not gonna huff and puff. I'm not gonna take anyone's head off. I'm simply gonna say this: you're my guys. And I'm yours... and there's nothing I wouldn't do for you.
I heard that and thought "what a great definition of a church." A team. God's team. A team who win together and lose together, who celebrate and mourn together. A team who are my guys, to whom I belong, who have a stake in me, for whom there is nothing I wouldn't do.
How ever did we get any idea that a church is an institution rather than a family? How did we get the idea that attending church is about receiving from some 3rd party service provider there to cater for my spiritual needs, rather than participating in God's team? However did we get the idea that a church is a place for minimal commitment to each other, minimal commitment to shared goals, minimal commitment to leaders, somewhere it is OK to "not like the team"?
If we are going to see resurgent churches in this country it will be churches that understand they are teams on a mission together, not a service to attend or a building to maintain. Our team is a better team than that White House team. Our boss is an infinitely better boss, our task a monumentally more important and exciting task. How could we possibly be less committed to being in the team for fulfilling the purposes of God than Toby Ziegler and his White House aides?