Please find below my teaching notes for Pt. 3 “TEAM WORKS” of the series: Movies- Life Lessons from the Big Screen. For personal use only. All other uses please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. (c) 2012, Terry Broadwater.
The movie, “The Avengers” starts when Loki, the fallen brother of Thor, meets with a leader of an alien race called the Chitauri. In exchange for retrieving the Tesseract, a powerful energy source, Loki is promised an army of Chitauri warriors, who will help enslave the human race to Loki. As soon as Loki steals the Tesseract, Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division) sets out to recruit Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk and Thor to work with Black Widow and Hawkeye as they join forces to try and defeat Loki.
Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk and Thor have all been off doing their own things. They’re all doing pretty well on their own, but Director Fury reactivates the Avengers Initiative, and begins the process of recruiting them all to come together as a team and essentially, save the world from the attack of Loki and the Chitauri army.
But, the Avengers are a pretty messed up group at first. Tony Stark, who becomes Iron Man when he puts on his suit, is an ego-maniac, a highly volatile character who seems to be only concerned with himself. Dr. Banner is brilliant, but when he gets mad, he can’t control his anger, and he turns into a huge, incredible, scary green monster known as Hulk, who takes out his anger in physical violence. Thor’s adopted brother is trying to destroy Earth, and when you see all of the Avengers coming together to try and figure out how to deal with Loki and Tesseract, you realize that they just might destroy themselves, because they can’t get along.
You might ask, “If Director Fury knew this before trying to get them all back together…why would he proceed?” Surely he could have still put together a crack-team, but just left out one or two of the Avengers for a bit of peace and balance…but no. No, he knew the real potential of all the Avengers when they all come together. And that’s the thing.
On their own – they were doing good things…they were helping others in the world… But there was no way that just one of them could have taken on the Chitauri army…they would have been easily defeated. And Director Fury knew that the Avengers could do even greater things if he was able to bring them all together and work as a team! If you watch The Avengers, you’ll see that it’s not easy for them to come and work together. They have different ideas of how to fight the Chitauri army, they don’t always see eye-to-eye, but in the end, they realize that they are better together than on their own.
And the one thing that helped the Avengers come together was the fact that they shared a common mission – a desire to protect the world from the invasion of the Chitauri. And they realize they have to WORK together as a TEAM to save the world- TEAM WORKS!
How many of you would like to see the Bronco’s TEAM WORK this fall? It can’t be just about Peyton Manning; it’s going to take every team member to work together as a team…
How many people would like to see this church packed every Sunday? People saved and equipped to achieve greatness on a regular basis? How many of you want to see this Church have incredible influence both locally and globally for the glory of God? How many of you dream of living in a peaceful yet purpose community that works together in harmony- every ministry and every person functioning to bless and benefit the other?
How many people would like to enjoy the benefits of a successful and happy family life? What about enjoy job satisfaction in a work place that is healthy and productive?
Well that doesn’t happen when you’re a Lone Ranger, or off doing your own thing, even if it’s a good thing, or you’re behind the scenes tearing down instead of building up! NO, OUR MISSION AND YOUR MISSION CAN’T HAPPEN WITHOUT WORKING TOGETHER AS A TEAM- BECAUSE TEAM WORKS!
A farmer noticed a highway department truck pulling over on to the shoulder of the road. A man got out and dug a hole, then got back into the truck. Then the other guy got out, filled up the hole and got back in the truck. Every fifty yards this amazing process was repeated. ’What are you doing?’ the farmer asked. The driver replied, ’We’re on a highway beautification project, and the guy who plants the trees doesn’t like how we dig the holes so he’s back at the shop! That doesn’t work!
But consider this: Great TEAMWORK makes things happen more than anything else in any organization – more than skill, qualifications, opinions, ideas, or money! Whether it’s your family, church, ministry, business, or personal life!
A well-known coach once commented in an interview: “It’s easy to get good players. It’s getting them to play together that’s the hard part!” That was the challenge of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in The Avengers!
The definition of TEAMWORK is “the COMBINED effective ACTION of a group or team to achieve a common goal (vision/mission). Every church has a common mission, and that’s true for GCC! Every family, every business, needs or should have a common mission as well; and it takes TEAM WORK to see that mission fulfilled because team works! But everyone, every ministry, etc. doing their own thing, doesn’t work!
Some other Definitions: “Teamwork means that we share a common ideal, embrace a common goal. Regardless of our differences, we work together, shoulder to shoulder, confident in one another’s faith, trust, and commitment. In the end, teamwork can be summed up in five short words…. We believe in each other.”
Throughout the Bible we read stories about people working together as teams to achieve a mission: Jesus and the Disciples- greatest team ever! The Tower of Babel is a picture of what can be achieved by a team that is UNITED – speech, actions, thoughts, goals, and vision!
TOWER OF BABEL – Genesis 11:1-6 At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words. As the people migrated to the east, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia and settled there. They began saying to each other, “Let’s make bricks and harden them with fire.” (In this region bricks were used instead of stone, and tar was used for mortar.) Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.” But the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. “Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them!
Here we observe that the Babylonians took full advantage of the impact of TEAMWORK & collaboration (working together aggressively, passionately to achieve a common goal)! Here we discover that even when a team has a wrong motive, united in speech and action ‘nothing will be impossible!’ Just think how much MORE we as believers can accomplish working in PARTNERSHIP with God and with each other to fulfill our mission! And isn’t this what the devil doesn’t want to see happen??
Here’s a word of advice: Don’t get caught up in someone’s personal agenda- at work, at home, in the church; it only leads to division and defeat! Instead, get caught up in the agenda of “we are partners together for a common cause!”
TEAM WORKS! 3 PRACTICAL STEPS FOR EFFECTIVE TEAMWORK
TEAM Members Must Care for One Another!
You can’t have camaraderie without genuinely caring for each other! “I care about you and you care about me and that helps to bring us together! (We know God cares for us).
Caring for one another is rooted in compassion! There is a genuine concern for each other’s well-being, success, and fulfillment in life. A huge determent to “team” is when you only care about yourself! Someone said, “There’s no I in team!
Uncaring people on a team remind me of two guys in a sinking boat, sitting together at one end doing nothing except complain. As the people at the other end are bailing furiously, one says, ’Thank God that hole isn’t in our end of the boat.’ Without sacrifice there can be no Success! Sometimes we are called to sacrifice: time, effort, comfort, our own desires or opinions, for the sake of the team. We should adapt the Musketeer motto ‘All for One and One for All!’
TEAM Members Must Communicate!
Recall, in Hurricane Katrina, hundreds died while those who could have rescued them stood by. Why? Communication broke down! At every level, federal, state, local, there were huge gaps and issues with communications; which not only led to frustration by those most impacted, but people died!
Any team, any organization, any business, any family, marriage, any church will “die” when there is no communication! The most important thing we can do is communicate, talk to one another; not talk about one another!
We must all commit to communicate clearly, concisely, and controllably! Communication builds team not because we share information, but because we share a mutual interest in how things impact us personally and collectively. People have a right to know whether they agree with it or not! The difference is “I may not agree, but I will align because TEAM is what’s most important and impactful!
TEAM Members are More Concerned with Team Wins than Individual Success!
The team’s success must always be of greater value than your own individual interests. You see this in the Tour de France, in the Olympic road race…
Your ’I’ll do it myself, that way I know it’ll get it done right’ attitude, robs others of the opportunity to participate, learn and grow, and leaves the job undone or poorly done many times.
Yes, you have to put self aside for TEAM success! This is the greatest, yet most challenging thing for any of us to do; yet it’s exactly what Jesus and the Bible tells us we must do: Eph. 5:21 “submit to one another out of reverence to Christ!” What’s that mean? It means what Paul says in Phil. 2:4, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others too.”
For church, family, business, to be successful, it’s deciding to be a contributor not merely a consumer!
Let me illustrate what I’ve been talking about: Have you ever wondered why geese fly in a very organized V Formation? Winging their way to a warmer climate, they often cover thousands of miles before reaching their destination. We can discover a lot about teamwork by studying geese – their flight patterns and in-flight habits.
SOME KEYS THINGS WE LEARN FROM GEESE
They rotate: Those in front rotate their leadership. When one lead goose gets tired, it changes places with one in the wing of the V-formation and another flies point. The lesson: We lead better and more efficiently and effectively when we “fly as a team!”
They flap: By flying as they do, the members of the flock create an upward air current for one another. Each flap of the wings literally creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. One author states that by flying in a V-formation, the whole flock gets 71 percent greater flying range than if each goose flew on its own. The lesson: We get much further down the road towards our goal when we “fly together!”
They help: When one goose gets sick or wounded, two fall out of formation with it and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with the struggler until it’s able to fly again. The lesson: Flying as a team means no one gets left behind alone!
They honk: The geese in the rear of the formation are the ones who do the honking. We can honk a lot and mostly it’s criticism! But geese honk as a way of announcing that they’re following and that all is well. For sure, the repeated honks encourage those in front to stay at it. As I think about all this, one lesson stands out above all others: it is the natural instinct of geese to work together. Whether it’s rotating, flapping, helping, or simply honking, the flock is in it together…which enables them to accomplish what they set out to do.
Coach Dean Smith told Michael Jordon in his freshman year at UNC, “Michael, if you can’t pass, you can’t play!” Years later, towards the end of his NBA career, Michael Jordon would say, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships!”
INDIVIDUALS WIN TROPHIES, TEAMS WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS!!
If your family isn’t working it may not be working as a team, because TEAM WORKS! If the church isn’t working it may not be working as a team, because TEAM WORKS! If you’re place of employment or business isn’t working it may not be working as a team, because TEAM WORKS!
Ephesians 4:16 “He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”
From this we learn that united as a team we, each contributing our part – help the church to GROW HEALTHY and STRONG, FULL of love. TEAM WORKS!
What use is a severed limb or organ absent from the body? God has called us to work as a team. The Lord teaches us the importance of pulling together when he made the statement. “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” Matt 12:25.
Especially as Christ-followers we should illustrate how TEAM WORKS in every aspect of our lives- family, church, work!
It only takes one rebellious spirit, one bad attitude to destroy the atmosphere and wreck the peace in a home, church, or workplace- I just hope that’s not you! If the family, church, or workplace is not working together properly: caring for each other, communicating, being more concerned for team wins than individual wants or success, it can cause all sorts of problems; least of which is making things difficult and worst of all, potential destruction!
Stephen Covey, leadership expert, said, “Dependent people need others to get what they want. Independent people can get what they want through their own efforts. Interdependent people COMBINE their OWN efforts with the efforts of OTHERS to ACHIGEVE their Greatest SUCCESS.”
Great TEAMWORK makes things happen more than anything else in our church, family, community, work and personal life. Teamwork is Biblical and part of God’s will for us as believers, when we apply it God blesses us! 3 PRACTICAL STEPS TO EMBRACE EFFECTIVE TEAMWORK – We as believers have a responsibility to ‘Care For Each Other’, Communicate Effectively, and Honor the team’s success above our own interests. In any area of life, and especially in the church and the greatest mission of all, we can achieve a lot more working together united as a team than divided as individuals!
What steps will you take to unite in Teamwork with the people God has placed in and around your life? How will you work to further support those who are part of your FAMILY, CHURCH, COMMUNITY, PLACE OF WORK?
Working as a TEAM we can ACHIEVE far GREATER THINGS than as individuals! If you’re not involved in teamwork, I want to encourage you to become a part and if you are, I want to encourage you to keep on keeping on and grow to become an even greater member of the team! Decide today to be a CONTRIBUTOR in life rather than just a CONSUMER and begin to experience how TEAM WORKS!