Working Together In Unity? How Is It Accomplished?
How can an organization or a church create an environment to help people discover a plan for working together?
King Solomon wrote, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ESV
More Than a Gathering
When people are invited to work together, they initially are no more than a gathering. This type of gathering lacks a common purpose. The people in a gathering do not share responsibility for one another. They also do not share a particular cause. This type of coming together is no more than a collection of individuals.
If a collection of individuals stays together, they may possibly evolve into a “group.” The difference between a “group” and a “collection of individuals” can be defined in their behavior and interaction with one another. The group has come to a point in which they identify a common purpose:
Members develop a group identity, define their roles, clarify their purpose, and establish norms for working together. However, groups tend to be leader-centered; the leader provides direction, assigns tasks, reviews performance, and is the primary focus of communication. 1
If a group remains in this phase, the chances for the creativity and input of the entire team will never be realized.
Teams cannot evolve until there is a collection of individuals that develop group ideologies and goals. Working together in unity is the goal.
A team is not easy to develop. However, the creation of a team enables a group to
- focus energy,
- respond rapidly to opportunities
- share responsibilities
- share rewards.
Good Advice for Working Together
The Apostle Paul had some good advice for working together in unity when he wrote these words to the early believers.
“As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.” ~ 1 Corinthians 12:20-25
Good teams are purpose-centered. Members not only understand the purpose but are committed to it and use the purpose to guide their actions and decisions.” 2
1 Steve Buchholz, Thomas Roth, and Karen Hess, eds., Creating the High Performance Team (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1987), 15-16.
2 Creating the High Performance Team