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Jesus Has Called Us to Be Successful. What Does a Successful Church Look Like?

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Many of us have been exposed to a myriad of team dynamics. Some of these different experiences have been overwhelmingly positive, while others, not so much. What is about team makeup that makes some teams more successful than others? This is an important question to ask because we always want to be a part of successful team no matter where we are. Corporations often have team training exercises to maximize productivity and output, but all the while neglecting the very people that make up those teams. As the Church, we all love Jesus, we get hyped up and excited for an event on Sunday morning; we arrive as individuals, we participated as individuals, and we end up leaving as individuals. Has the Church carried out their routines the same way Corporations have? 

In a presentation at a TED TalkMargaret Heffernan shares about a study conducted by MIT, by putting together groups of people and presenting to them difficult scenarios that the teams then had to solve. As the researchers were observing the performance of these groups and teams, they were surprised at what the found to be what distinguished the groups that performed well versus those that did not. What they initially thought would be factors that produced results, was actually the opposite. As Heffernan shares, “the high achieving groups were not those that had spectacular high IQ; nor were the successful groups the ones that had the highest aggregate IQ”. The interesting reality were the three factors that all of the successful teams had in this study; “they showed high degrees of social sensitivity to each other. This is measured by something called reading the mind and the eye test. It’s broadly considered a test for empathy, and the groups that scored highly on this did better. Secondly, the successful groups gave roughly equal time to each other, so that no one’s voice dominated but neither were there any passengers. And thirdly, the more successful groups had more women in them”.  

This is so important to understand: MIT figured out through this study what God knew all along. God has created us all to have something important and valuable to bring to the table. It’s imperative that we have empathy to value those around us, to our left and to our right. But, just because it’s imperative doesn’t mean that empathy exists. We have to have TIME to connect in order to build empathy and connectivity with one another. Just because we are gathering as the Church, doesn’t mean that we are connecting with one another.  

When was the last time that someone asked you, “what is God saying to you?” Has anybody asked you to share what your thoughts are? After listening to a message about the Word of God for an hour, has anybody ever asked you what your thoughts are about that teaching? Has that ever happened? Well based on MIT, the successful gatherings are the ones that do. We’re not talking about “social networking” but “social connectivity”. As foreign as a thought as this may be, the truth is you can actually enjoy coming together and connecting with the Church, the Body of Christ.  

Instead of showing up somewhere as an individual, disconnected and alone, only to then leave equally disconnected afterwards, imagine having a gather to be connected to where you have an established relationship with people the other 6 and a half days of the week before the gathering? This is the gathering that Jesus desires for His Church. He desires for us to honor one another. Think about this reality: if Jesus died for them, they are worth listening to.  Jesus said in John 13:34-35“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” What MIT and Margaret Heffernan is talking about is the reality that we have to love one another.  You may have never been brought to the table or seen as something to even having something important to share at the table. We can often see how our relationship is with the Lord by looking at how our relationship is with people. It’s hard to say that we love Jesus if we’re not doing anything to love those who are His, the Church.  If we’re treating people bad, we’re treating Jesus bad. 

Imagine a place where people, who you have relationship and connection with, look forward to seeing you, who know your name, and who walk with you each other’s journeys of life. Jesus said in Matthew 18:20“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them”. As you share you life with another, you gather together to break bread, and to discuss the testimonies of what Jesus has done in your life, you discuss with one another what Jesus says in His Word, you find out that His tangible presence is there. He is there, in the midst of those who are His. Why would you want to be anywhere else where His presence is not? When we see this, we can understand why all of hell comes after everything involving the family, because it is design. Imagine beginning to see family as God designed it to be. 

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