When my kids were young, we watched a wonderful cartoon called the Wonder Pets. Ever heard of it? In a nutshell, the show’s main characters are three elementary school classroom pets — Linny the Guinea Pig, Tuck the Turtle, and Ming-Ming the duckling. They are presented as a trio of heroes who rescue baby animals as they demonstrate the benefits of teamwork. (Thanks Wikipedia!) After they receive the call with their new mission (literally, their ‘telephone’ rings), they sing this wonderful (and catchy!) song as they prepare to head out:
Wonder Pets, Wonder Pets, we’re on our way
To help a [baby penguin] and save the day!
We’re not too big and we’re not too tough
But when we work together we’ve got the right stuff!
Go…. Wonder Pets, yay!
Upon finding out the problem at hand, they make a plan and continue their song…
Linny, Tuck, and Ming-Ming too!
We’re Wonder Pets and we’ll help you!
What’s gonna work? Teamwork!
What’s gonna work? TEAMWORK!!
In my home today, we still sing (well, okay, I sing!) this great little ditty at the end about teamwork. Whether it be in your family, your workplace, or your church, I think we can all agree that TEAMWORK is a necessary component to living in a thriving, healthy culture. It puts the whole body before the individual, and it keeps a group of people moving in the same direction, leaving ‘no man (or woman) behind’. This is because it keeps the mission as the main thing, even when times are tough. Just like these three classroom pets: the animals they rescued weren’t always cute and cuddly, but the Wonder Pets were committed to their mission (helping animals in trouble) AND they were committed to each other.
This month we’ll be looking at Deacons at Classis & Synod, as well as Community Engagement. At first glance, you may wonder what these 2 things have in common. Well – both require TEAMWORK! A.k.a. Collaboration!
I was reminded of this while reading from the book of Nehemiah last week. In chapter 3, we read about the people of Jerusalem rebuilding the damaged wall. This was a big deal to that city for in that time, a broken wall was a symbol of a ‘broken people’: a defeated people who were now exposed and vulnerable. When reading through the chapter, it’s easy to get your tongue twisted as you try to read through the various names of who did what and where. You may even be tempted to skim over the many names listed. Why this was so important that it was included in the Bible?! But if we take the time to read through this chapter, we see a beautiful picture of how the people of that city worked together. They put aside their positions, their genders and even their loyalties, in order to accomplish this great feat. Priests and rulers worked alongside perfume-makers and goldsmiths. People came from other cities and regions to lend a hand. Men worked alongside women. Some repaired two sections while others simply repaired the section opposite their own homes.
Here are a few things we can learn from this passage:
1. Teamwork means no one’s work was more important depending on how much they did;
2. Teamwork means we are each lending our own gifts and abilities to work toward one common goal;
3. Our positions or titles and even our gender must be put aside for the greater good AND the grander vision of what God would have us do;
4. While we often pray for prosperity and peace, hard times or calamity can be an opportunity to bring us together and make us stronger.
Steven J Cole sums these four points up by saying, “To accomplish God’s purpose, we need a common vision, dedicated leaders, and willing workers who do their part.” That’s what teamwork is all about!
“To accomplish God’s purpose, we need a common vision, dedicated leaders, and willing workers who do their part.” (Steven J. Cole)
Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll unpack these four points as we talk about Deacons at Classis & Synod and why they are needed there. We’ll also apply this to what we’ve been learning about Community Engagement. One thing’s for sure: whether we’re looking at Deacons being included at these larger denominational gatherings or churches engaging with this communities, we can all agree that we are always BETTER TOGETHER. Like bacon & eggs, peanut butter & jam, cheese & crackers. And the Wonder Pets!
So, what’ gonna work? TEAMWORK!
You’re not too big and you’re not too tough
But when you work together you’ve got the right stuff!