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What can we learn from COVID-19? Although we cannot see the virus, it’s deadly contagious. It not only can destroy lives but it can also destruct the financial world. As human beings, we should humbly admit we are vulnerable, thus we should pray to God for intervention with mercy and grace. Also, as we all live in a global village, we should knock down walls between races and nations, and should stand in solidarity with all nations to fight against this terrible virus!
Learning from this pandemic will help us to serve God as Christians, but there are other aspects that we should discover as well, and that’s why I speak of 7Cs of Teamwork today.
1) Chemistry (2 Corinthians 13:11–12)
In the epistle of Second Corinthians, the Apostle says, 11Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice, set things right, be encouraged, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. (2 Corinthians 13:11–12 NET) Paul reminds the believers at Corinth to “agree with one another” (NET). As you can see, people don’t usually agree with one another. Let me give you an illustration. As we are all concerned with the latest development of COVID-19, we watch the news on our phones, iPads and televisions. Oftentimes, I find various doctors and specialists differ in their opinions concerning dealing with this pandemic. As you know, smart people usually don’t agree with others!
The Meaning of Agree with One Another
What do we mean by “agree with one another” (NET)? It can be translated as “Live in peace” (NLT). This action involves the will, affections, and conscience of believers. The Apostle Paul reminds the believers at Corinth that agreeing with one another are one of the necessary principles and attitudes of Christian fellowship.
In today’s terminology, chemistry is the complex emotional or psychological interaction between individuals. As Christians, we should attain good chemistry between one another. And living in peace or agreeing with one another is the necessary chemistry that Christians have in fellowship.
Chemistry in Sports
Because of COVID-19, some sports events were postponed. Take the examples of Olympics 2020 and Euro 2020, these events were postponed for a year. If you are a sports fan, you understand well that chemistry matters in team sports! I have heard a saying such as “the players aren’t playing for the manager.” If the head coach or manager doesn’t have a great chemistry with his players, this team wouldn’t succeed, despite the fact that they have all the great players.
Chemistry in Church
If you want your church to prosper, you must work on the chemistry between one another. The starting point is “agree with one another” (NET) or creating a peaceful environment. If believers disagree with one another all the time, how would a church grow healthily!
Chemistry in Ministry
Dear believers in Christ, please work on the chemistry with one another. Believe or not, the ‘Me’ culture affects all walks of life, including churches. There are so many egoistic Christians around. They want people to pay attention to their needs and ideas, but not vice versa. As followers of Christ, we should humble before our Lord. If we do so, we would have the humility and the heart to create a better chemistry with one another.
2) Connection (Galatians 6:2)
Paul says, 2Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2 NLT) The Apostle Paul reminds the church at Galatia to share each other’s burdens.
Sharing Each Other’s Burdens
Why is that we have to carry one another’s burdens? The reason is simple. We should share each other’s burdens because we are interconnected together.
Officially, married couples are interconnected together, but sadly, some aren’t spiritually and emotionally. Many husbands and wives stay married, but they have stopped loving and caring for one another. One of the causes of broken marriages is lack of communication.
As I have already said, believers are interconnected. Therefore, we should work on our mutual connection. One of the things that we can improve is our communication with one another.
I am sorry to say there are so many broken churches around. One of the culprits is lack of communication and miscommunication. Please remember one thing, healthy connection with one another starts with healthy communication.
Amid COVID-19, we are restricted in our mobility in many ways; however, as followers of Christ, we can make full use of modern technology and other means to connect with one another.
3) Character (Titus 2:7–8 NLT)
Let’s read Titus 2: 7–8. 7And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. 8Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized. Then those who oppose us will be ashamed and have nothing bad to say about us. (Titus 2:7–8 NLT)
Conduct and Teaching
If you get all the academic requirements needed to be a teacher, you can take up the profession. Although you can teach, you might not be a good teacher at all. Paul’s counsel to Titus is that a good teacher must confirm his teaching by his conduct. Good conduct and good character of a Christian speaks louder than words.
As I grow older and wiser, I have found some people who are pathological liars. They can lie right to your face, without even blinking an eye. Honestly, they can even fool a lie detector.
Character and Competence
In today’s world, many people simply don’t care too much about moral character. Countless individuals regard a person’s competence is more important than his or her character. Let me give you an example. There are so many pathological liars in this world, especially in the business and political arena. If you pay close attention to the speeches and actions of some businesspeople and politicians, it isn’t hard for you to find out that they lack integrity. Many voters know the politicians that they support are pathological liars, but all they care about is their competence. But, according to my understanding of the Bible, moral character is more important than competence.
A church is a team of believers. Believers should serve God and serve one another. What matters most to God’s workers is not their competence but their character. The team’s ethic or team’s spirit is more important than anything in the world. As Christians, we should always work on our moral character.
4) Cooperation (1 Corinthians 1:10)
The Apostle Paul reminds the Corinthian Church with the following words. 10I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. (1 Corinthians 1:10 NLT) In the name of Jesus Christ, Paul seriously told the believers at Corinth should stay united and should not divide among themselves.
Serving God with One Heart
In a simple sentence, Christians should serve God with one heart. The fourth ‘C’ I want to share with you is ‘Cooperation”.
It is true that people like to compete. It is true that many individuals like to compete instead of cooperate. According to my observation, even churches like to compete with one another instead of cooperating with others. Amid COVID-19, we should not compete with other churches but cooperate. Some churches are very rich in resources, but on the other hand, many local church congregations are limited in human and financial resources. I think it is about time that large churches should go around and help small congregations. On the other hand, small churches should go seek help from large churches.
It is true that we should serve God. But, we should understand human and financial resources are limited within a church community. Also, ministry is not about competition but cooperation.
There are two main groups of ministry teams within a church: pastoral and non-pastoral team. Pastors should cooperate with their non-pastoral team. In fact, they all belong to one team.
5) Comradeship (Romans 16:3–4)
In his own words, Paul says, 3Give my greetings to Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in the ministry of Christ Jesus. 4In fact, they once risked their lives for me. I am thankful to them, and so are all the Gentile churches.(Romans 16:3–4 NLT) Paul openly commends Priscilla and Aquila. As for the support of Paul’s ministry, they risked their lives for him. Priscilla and Aquila are the comrades of Paul.
The fifth ‘C’ is ‘Comradeship’. All believers are our comrades in ministry. Here are four features of comradeship.
The first trait is trust. If you don’t trust the one who is sitting next to you, how can you serve with this person together?
As comrades in Christ, we should support others. What do I mean by supporting one another? Well, we should pray for one another, including their family members. Also, if others are with physical needs, we should try our best to care for them.
There is already enough pain in this world. Hurting others is very easy. Recently I watched an interview. The manager of the football team admitted his team didn’t play well, but he didn’t lay the blame on any of the players. After the interview, a commentator stated that the manager was trying to protect his players. As comrades, we should be determined in protecting one another.
Priscilla and Aquila were Paul’s comrades because they were willing to sacrifice for the sake of their partner.
6) Celebration (1 Thessalonians 5:12; 2 Thessalonians 1:3)
Appreciation of Others
In 1 Thessalonians 5:12, Paul says, 12Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. (1 Thessalonians 5:12 NLT) Paul told the believers to honour the leaders. If you refer to another Bible version, he reminded the believers to appreciate the leaders.
In 2 Thessalonians 1:3, Paul says, 3Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing. (2 Thessalonians 1:3 NLT) As a pastor, Paul often teaches the followers of Christ to be thankful of others. The sixth ‘C’ is ‘Celebration’. Praising God and be thankful of others on a regular basis is a discipline that we should always practice.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Although the situation of this pandemic is still very dreadful, we should always have a heart of thanksgiving. We should thank God for the sacrifice that the medical personnel paid. They are risking their lives for all the citizens around the world.
Thank God for our Coworkers
As brothers and sisters in Christ, we should always thank God for the work of other believers. Without their contributions, we wouldn’t enjoy the privileges that we are enjoying now.
7) Christ-centredness (Philippians 1:20–21)
In Philippians 1, the Apostle Paul says, 20For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. 21For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. (Philippians 1:20–21NLT)
Paul testified that he would risk his life for Jesus Christ. This wasn’t just a wish but a reality. This reflects his spirituality. Paul’s spirituality is Christ-centred. The last ‘C’ is ‘Christ-centredness’.
Many missionaries gave up their lives for the advancement of the Gospel. Countless female missionaries sacrificed a lot for China. When a female missionary died because of illness, she didn’t leave much money. She left a Bible to another pastor. On the flyleaf, she wrote: “I want nothing for myself. I want everything for the Lord.”
The Goal of Ministry
Ministry is not for our own interests. Serving God is not for our own benefits. Ministry is all about our Lord and Redeemer.
Everyone is vulnerable to COVID-19. We might catch the deadly virus. We might even die because of the virus. But, no matter what, let’s be determined to live only for Jesus Christ. For sure, we don’t know when will the rapture of the church happen. Regardless of the timing of the rapture, Christians should lead a Christ-centred life. Let’s be reminded by these touching words: “I want nothing for myself. I want everything for the Lord.”
Let me conclude. There are at least seven important things that we should work on in ministry. The first one is chemistry. The second thing we should work on is connection. The third aspect is character. The fourth is cooperation. The fifth is comradeship. The sixth is celebration. Last but not least is Christ-centredness.