All of us have heard, at one time or another, that old, worn-out phrase, “There’s no ‘I’ in team.” Of course, it is old and worn-out for a reason. Coaches use this mantra in order to get their players to take the focus off the individual and place it squarely on the team as a whole. Anyone who has ever been a part of a team knows that success cannot occur if personal egos take precedence over team goals. Every team member must become selfless for the sake of achieving the goal. Each individual must work together as a unit in order to have success. In fact, you have probably seen the acronym for T.E.A.M. on t-shirts and posters—Together Everyone Achieves More. Teamwork is crucial to meeting desired goals, and certainly this applies to the church as well. While it may be grammatically accurate that there is no “I” in team, it is anything but true in a physical sense. “There is no ‘I’ in team” is a practical principle whose message is well-intended and makes sense, but is not completely accurate. There is an “I” in team. A team is defined as a group of individuals united in a common goal, and a team will not be successful if each individual member does not understand their role and carry out their role effectively. The same certainly applies to the church. The church is made up of individuals who form a team. In order for this team to be successful it must be united. Everyone must know their role and carry out their role to ensure that the church meets its goal, which is to serve God and save souls.
Notice what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12, beginning in verse 14: “For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, ‘Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,’ it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, ‘Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,’ it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired” (1 Cor. 12:14-18). There is an “I” in team because there is a personal responsibility that each and every Christian has to the welfare and well-being of the team. Every member has different abilities, and each member with his or her ability is important to the church. Every member needs the other members of the body in order to function properly. EVERY MEMBER IS IMPORTANT because each member makes up a successful team. Therefore, if you are a part of the body and not fulfilling your role, your part of the body is dead. If you’re not doing something then someone else has to pull your weight. Each one in the church has a task to do.
In Ephesians chapter 4, verse 16 Paul writes, “…from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” There are different functions among the members, but all unite to form one body. There is a diversity contributing to unity.
Unfortunately, the church does not always play like a team. The church will often resemble a football game where 22 players are doing all of the work while 80,000 fans either cheer or boo from the stands. Some team members choose to play arm-chair quarterback; criticizing and complaining without ever rolling up their sleeves and going to work. Some opt out of service because they are more comfortable in the role of spectator rather than participator. Some feel that they have nothing to contribute. God believes in body building. Our Lord understands the crucial need for His body to be toned and tight with no underdeveloped or sagging parts. He wants every muscle in His body to be built up so that it will be strong and healthy. His body, of course, is the church.
Whether you are a hand, an eye, a foot, etc. your part of the body is vital because your part of the body contributes to the whole. Some suffer from the disease of “comparisonitis.” They determine their worth and their value by measuring themselves against another. It is easy for a foot to look at a hand and say, “Look how useful the hand is. He can do so many things. What can I do in comparison?” God does not suffer from comparisonitis. God does not get lost in comparing various parts of the body. Rather, God wants the foot to be the best foot he can be, or the hand to be the best hand he can be. Because God established the church, He knows that each body part is crucial to the overall functionality of the body.
There are no nobodies in the body of Christ. You are crucial to the life and vitality of the church. If you ever come to question your worth, simply consider the price that was paid for your salvation. Christ purchased you with His own blood; that automatically makes you an integral part of the body. You may not be able to lead singing. You may not feel comfortable with leading a prayer. You may not feel apt to teach. Your role may be greeting visitors, sending cards of encouragement, calling on the sick, grading World Bible School lessons. Regardless of how small you consider your contribution to be, it is instrumental to the welfare of the body. There is an “I” in team.