Last week my daughter and I sat down for lunch with a long time friend and high ranking Navy Chaplain. In our conversation we talked about the power of war to bring focus to a team. One insight emerged that surprised me.
Over the past thirteen years my friend has seen a lot as our country has experienced conflicts around the world. He has prayed with people at Ground Zero after the September 11 attacks, ministered to war weary soldiers in two tours in the Middle East, and most recently served a mission in a small country in Africa.
The first two tours were in the midst of war, but the last was not. It was more diplomatic in nature. I said to my friend, “I imagine that this past mission was far less stressful since you were not in the midst of military conflict.” But he explained that actually it was far more stressful.
I was surprised by his answer. How could that be?
He explained that war has a way of clarifying the objective, focusing teams, and unifying diverse people. When such a potent objective is not operative it is easy for more distracting agendas to take shape.
My friend was in no way saying that war was better. He is all too acquainted with the horrors of war. He would rather peace prevail. He was only observing that a common threat, or a powerful objective, truly brings out the best in people who realize they must work as a team.
That got me thinking. In my own organization, our local church, I too have observed that our congregation has been at its’ best when we have faced a big problem. We have had more energy, more intense momentum, greater unity, and more focused love for one another when we have been clear on our mission and together engaged a great challenge.
When we kept before us that lost people matter to God and that we needed to be the ones who reached those people for Christ, we rallied, sacrificed, set aside our differences, and did bold things to impact people with the gospel. But the times when we lost that clear focus, we became apathetic, less committed, and often found other things to be conflicted about.
My conversation with my Chaplain friend reminded me that being clear on our mission as Christians is vital to our success in that mission. We need to see that serving the Lord and advancing his gospel really is life or death for people. We need to awaken to the fact that the church really is the hope of the world and it is imperative that believers come together to extend that hope to the people of our communities and the nations.
So if you are leading a team, a Bible Study group, a ministry, or a church, be clear on the mission and what is at stake in people’s lives. Keep that mission before your people and urge them to join you in coming together for a common purpose.
When you do, you will see greater unity, commitment, and sacrifice in your team. You will see more clearly opportunities and your faith in an eventual victory will rise.
Question: How have you seen this principle play out in your life, family, business, or church? You can leave a comment by clicking here.