Without a doubt, my favorite track and field events to watch are the relay races. Four runners on the same team, all running part of a race to take a baton around the track. The lessons we can learn from the relay races abound. Here are a few:
Multiple Runners Run Faster Than One.
Look at the finishing times for an individual 200-meter race. Then look at the times for a relay race of the same distance. The point is clear; four runners all running their fastest in a portion of the race can run faster than one runner running the whole race alone.
Ministry Lesson – surround yourself with other servants who can share in the ministry you are leading. Your team will be better if you do.
It Takes Everyone to Win.
The winning team will not always have the single best runner in the race. The winning team will have the four runners that ran the best together. Each runner has the goal of the team winning, not just running their own best time.
Ministry Lesson – Make your own success secondary to the effectiveness of the team. Make decisions that are best for the ministry moment, not just what best demonstrates your strengths and abilities.
Runners Have to Accommodate Each Other for a Clean Handoff.
The track has a very specific area designated as the zone where the handoff of the baton can be made. If the baton is dropped or the handoff happens outside of that zone, the team is disqualified. Both the runner handing off and the one receiving have to adjust to the position and speed of the other in order to insure a clean pass of the baton.
Ministry Lesson — isolation is a killer of healthy team building and ministry handoffs. To insure you can successfully pass the ministry ahead to other runners, you will have to accommodate the musical and spiritual sensibilities of others running. And, you will have to build relationships with people both ahead of you in the race and behind you. If you isolate yourself from other generations or worship approaches, you will soon find you are running alone.
All Runners Share in the Prize.
At the end of the race, all four runners gather at the podium to receive the prize. Only one finished the race, but all are awarded the victory.
Ministry Lesson – In the end, ministry is a celebration of all God is doing through our service. It takes all of the body of Christ to build the team God wants us to have. Each person’s role will be different and based on their skills and maturity. When Jesus is worshipped, He gets the glory and we all share in the celebration!
As a musician, I could make the choice to base the ministry I lead on my abilities – my singing, my writing, my talent. If I do that, very soon my church will be watching me perform.
I’d much rather build a team and run this race together with our Champion, Jesus, wouldn’t you?
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book (checkout his latest book: Worship Essentials). In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family (and his two new grand-babies). Visit MikeHarland.com to keep up with all that Mike has going on.