How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! Psalm 133:1
I decided to do something outside my comfort zone in the 7th grade and signed up to play basketball. Nevermind that I didn’t even know how to dribble the ball, I thought it sounded new and fun. Plus, my school was small enough that everyone got an opportunity to play. So I went to the try-outs, made the C Team (yes, it’s the team less skilled than the B team) and started practice. Nearly every day, I experienced some form of embarrassment. My least favorite memory- one that still haunts me- involves a team-wide layup drill. Everyone would run up to the basket and put the ball through the hoop and, for each one missed, we had to run a lap. Guess who missed all of hers and made the entire team run? Yea, this girl!
Additionally, I didn’t know how to pass, my arms were too weak for shooting, and I didn’t understand the rules of basketball. Nevertheless, my adventure in C Team basketball became one of my favorite middle school seasons.Why? I assure you it wasn’t the daily humiliation; it was the comradery and the teamwork. I had never played a team sport before and I loved that we wore matching jerseys, shared the same locker room, and all wanted to see each other get better.
I remember the first time I fouled a player, all the girls on the A/B team cheered for me. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the game, fouls are a bad thing. But everyone was so excited that I finally felt comfortable enough to be a bit aggressive on the court.
This type of unity is so meaningful because everyone shares the same drive and passion for the game. When teams are like-minded and “clicking,” they are unbeatable. Recently, my hometown team, Wichita State, men’s basketball team has really found their groove. Sports analysts finds Wichita State’s unity a large part of the team’s success. There’s something about the way the players can read each other on the court, they can pass without making eye-contact, and can feel the moment when they get “hot” that makes me (as a fan now) sense something great is happening here.
When God’s people are living together in unity, they inspire that same unbeatable, greatness that their favorite sports teams do, but without the matching jerseys.. The biggest difference is that ours is not a greatness of our own power and skill, but of God’s ability to use his gospel to create a like-minded mission for His people. Philippians 2 says, “complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” (v.2). As players in rooted community, we should have the shared vision for what a disciple of Jesus looks like so we can cheer for one another in this work. We can train together, protect one another from injury, cry through the losses and celebrate the wins. Paul says that believers in community are “being transformed into the SAME image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18). Our roles all may be unique, but we are aligned along a singular mission such that we all bear the image of the one who makes us great. We’re all team Jesus, you know?
Community is a team sport. When we are focused on the same goal to reach those who do not know Jesus, our collective ability is greater because our unity is unlike anything the world has ever seen before.
Questions for your Community:
What does it mean to have the same mind and love in Christ as described in Philippians 2:2?
In what ways have you been more of an “individual player” in community?
How can your community find unity in the gospel?
Begin communicating unity in the gospel amongst your friends. Heck, maybe even join a team sport together to strengthen unity amongst one another. Our community recently had a fun (slightly, competitive) game of kickball and everyone loved it. Those small things build an everlasting community.
I love love love this. I️ forgot about all that basketball misery you wen through.