As I sit to write this, I am snuggled in a hoodie a few sizes too big on an air mattress in Delaware, slowly sipping away my Earl Gray and wishing that it would last longer. 2014’s end of year responsibilities and demands had called me away from my usual Thursday posts, but I am so ready to be back to a normal routine! The discipline of writing on a regular basis is rather therapeutic for me.
Well, one thing I firmly believe is that if the devil wants to destroy a team, he won’t do it from the outside. He destroys teams from the inside out.
Usually, when an outside force attacks a team (an untrue rumor, a bad newspaper headline, or the like), the team hunkers down and unites more solidly than ever to fight. So the enemy will find a “Judas,” if you will. He will stir up dissension among the team…
He will whisper to you, “Why do you think William always assigns the unimportant tasks to you?”
Or, “Doesn’t it seem like Annie, Jeff, and Dee are always making decisions without you?”
Or, “What do you think Brandon meant when he said that?”
Or, “Cheryl sure seems to favor Cody, doesn’t she?”
And as Scripture says, “a house divided against itself cannot stand” (Mark 3:25). Such thoughts, when entertained, will begin to corrode you and ultimately become lethal poison. If the enemy can cause disunity in any way – say, the team begins to operate out of paranoia, or argue for power – then he wins. The team will inevitably crumble, and if the team crumbles, the team’s ministry will ultimate crumble.
Now, CityReach is doing quite beautifully. I believe part of this is because our core team is unified, uncomplicated, and committed to honoring one another. I love us! God has been exceedingly gracious to us! My words are not stemming from a situation that is happening or has happened with our church or within our team. I’m saying this.. for you.
Friends, listen to me carefully. Our enemy the devil is a ruthless and evil lion; he is slinking around in the shadows and closely examining each of us for a weak spot. He doesn’t want to merely wound us; he wants to annihilate us. And so he plays dirty. He takes cheap and painful shots in sensitive areas of our hearts and minds.
It is imperative – imperative, I say – to protect yourself from the enemy’s attacks, certainly for your own sake, but also for the sake of the ministry God has entrusted you to oversee.
So, for 2015, how can you protect yourself from this foul play from the enemy? How can you protect your team?
- Submit to authority. Nobody likes to hear that, but let me suggest that not only should we submit, but we must do it cheerfully! After all, the degree to which you submit to your leader is actually the degree to which you submit to God.
- Commit to being uncomplicated. And yes, it’s really that simple. What an attractive quality in a team member! Assume positive intent.
- Commit to being easy to work with. This goes hand-in-hand with being uncomplicated. Would you enjoy working alongside you? Or (and don’t go easy on yourself here) do you complain, get stressed out easily, or get too intense?
- Pray for your team. Earnestly. Thoughtfully.
- Honor your team. Meaningfully bless your teammates, as a whole and individually.
- Practice speaking only in high regard of your teammates, even in private. This makes a huge difference!
- Identify the enemy’s voice when he tries to whisper to you. His lies will always sound believable, but they are easy to spot because they tend to cause paranoia, irritation, drama, or overall negative feelings. Do not tolerate such destruction! Immediately dismiss, and replace those thoughts with the truth – God’s Word.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to help you. He will!