Erwin McManus in his book “The Last Arrow” makes the observation that people who are so often considered successful in their arena have a common element. He writes:
“The greater the accomplishment, the more you can be certain that they are surrounded by a powerful team. Individuals who accomplish great things never accomplish them alone. . . For every name that is known, there are endless names that remain unknown and the unknown were as essential to success and as vital to the achievements as those upon whom we place the mantle of greatness.”
It can be argued that this should not only be an apt description of the church, but a necessary one. Whatever “success” a church has, it should not be about any one person, but about what God is doing in and through a group of people. McManus in these lines is not saying get a great team if you want to be great, what he is saying is that real success is not a solo journey. It is the result of people coming together, whilst also recognising there are times when some might have a more visible role than others.
In a quick survey of Scripture often we see the people whom God is using partnered and supported by others. King David had his mighty men, Moses had Aaron & Jethro, Paul had Timothy, Barnabas and many others. The early church is testimony to what God does in and through a group of people, most of whom are unknown to us and yet through whom God turned the Roman empire and world upside down.
It is a reminder that we need one another. It is reminder that we do this together. If we can measure success by the way someone has been cared for, or when someone grows in their faith, when another discovers faith, or any number of things which we pursue as a church, then it is never the result on any one of us. It is a combination of various people working together to glorify God and build his church.
As Paul reminded us in 1 Corinthians 12: 27 – “ Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”