Scanlon: “There’s no ‘I’ in team, but there’s 5 in ‘Individual Brilliance”

I was watching Paul Scanlion preach on David’s Mighty Men yesterday and he makes the following, insightful observation about how effective teams work in the real world.

David had some amazing leaders around him: helpers, supporters, fighters, layers of their lives down for him (even if it was just a drink that he wanted from his favorite well in Jerusalem). Men who would take on hundreds-to-one. Men who would stand alone against all sensible odds. Men who risked their lives for nothing more than a patch of lentils…Men who risked their life to kill giants. Men who killed lions in a snowy pit.

David had some amazing people around him.

And the point I want to make to you tonight is that there is no “I” in team. But there’s 5 in “Individual Brilliance”.

Yes count them, count them: there’s 5 in “Individual Brilliance”….

I have been in too many teams and I have built too many teams to not recall occasions when the difference that was made on that day was not down to the team it was down to an individual’s brilliance, an individual’s stickability, an individual’s take on something, an individual’s wisdom on something.

Our difficulty in, I think, the church often is that we’re so afraid of someone having an ego trip or becoming a prima donna –and believe me: I’ve had more than my fair share of those over the last 30 years that have kind of come and gone over the life of our church. I don’t think it’s just unique to the church I think it’s everywhere. I think if you have ego and you’re a prema donna you’ll be that wherever you are, I suppose. …

But I think in the church, when we experience that, the damage it has in us, the effect it has in us is that we never, ever want to have another one. If you’ve had one, you never want to have another one. Because managing that ego, and managing prima donnas is just, it’s a hiding to nothing. It’s a lose-lose scenario.

And watching that over the years and watching how that affects us, I think what we do is we want to teach team as if everyone on the team is the same and equal and everybody has the same contribution and it’s just not true.

It’s not true in life. It’s not true in sport. It’s not true in any organization . And I want us tonight to celebrate the blessing, the benefit, the joy, the wisdom of team because that’s how we’ve built what we’ve built and that’s how we are building what we are building.

But I also want to lift out from David’s Mighty Man and many other examples we could touch on that amongst every team are people that have a skill set, a wisdom, a gifting, an ability that they got from God that if a team can have a large enough heart and be secure enough to allow them to be who God made them to be –without being threatened—then I believe we are in a win-win scenario in all of our churches because, listen to me, what some of you need in your churches isn’t there yet. And what some of you need will never come until you stop being insecure and threatened by people that may just have a gift and an ability and a contribution and a way of doing a thing that really is different and maybe smarter and maybe better and maybe more effective or more impactful than anything you are bringing….

You know the acrostic for team (Together Everyone Achieves More), I believe that. But I also believe the “more” is often down to an individual’s brilliance on that team; it wasn’t all the team that made the difference on that day.