Growing up and into early adulthood I would live eat and breathe the game of basketball. I was one of those kids that slept with my basketball in bed with me at all times. I would even sleep with my hand fully extended around the ball with a solid grip to stretch out my fingers so I could palm the basketball (it worked). I didn’t stop doing that until I was 20. Some would say that was sad, I liked to look at it as dedication.
As a lover of the game of basketball I obviously played a lot of pick up games when I wasnt playing on a school team or AAU. I would play all day and night, every day, game after game. If you have never played a pick up game of any sport you know that you first need to pick a team. You do this by 2 guys choosing one at a time from a group of people who want to play. As one of the better players, I found myself being the leader and picking my own team most of the time. Whether I picked first or not, I had a different outlook on how I picked my team. Most people always picked the best player they could and build what they thought would be a dream team for total basketball domination. This is pickup people, its serious. I remember watching the other leader as he picked seeing a smirk grow on his face like he was going to destroy my team and live in the playground glory. I would approach picking my team much differently. They thought I was crazy, but instead of picking the best players on the court, I would pick those players that had less natural talent. I got a lot of crazy looks and some very surprised and happy teammates who were thanking me they did not get picked last, as they normally would.
If I could take this group of players and teach them how to play as a team and win, we would reach a much higher victory than the other team with no glory. I would develop their strengths to their fullest. I would make the big, slow guy our rebounder. I got him to throw his body around and make it uncomfortable for the other team to be under the basket. If a player was fast, I would get them to play tough, in your face defense at the half court. Then they would run as soon as the ball fell from the basket to throw a long pass for an easy basket. After a couple of plays during the game, the team would start to work well together and we would win most of the time. It was such a glorious feeling to take a team that no one would pick and finish with a win. Some thought I did this to make myself look good and say I beat your team because I was the best player. I didn’t care what they thought after seeing the excitement and increased confidence in my teammates. With a 20 minute game of basket ball, I witnessed a group of 4 guys grow and rise above their limitations and trust their strengths. I am sure they went home having a lot more fun than they normally would. Plus, its always fun to take down the big boys in the gym and rub it in their faces a little bit.
Imagine if we did something like this in our churches. I think if you use at least one thing that God has taught you, then you have exactly one thing to disciple someone with by passing it along. If we would look at the people we serve with, take them under our wing, find their strengths and develop them, to teach them that they can succeed and make a difference. There could be fellow servers sitting on the sidelines with low self-esteem, thinking to themselves that because they are not on the worship team or preaching a message , they can not be used just as mightily for the kingdom of God. If you are someone who is good at talking with people and making them feel at home, you are a potential greeter. Even those who are shy, but very organized could be a potential administrator. Both of these positions make up a team that forms a church; a church that functions to bring hope to the lost and love to the hurting. There are multiple personalities in the people around us that we can build up to make our teams stronger. If you are a leader, it might be good to look around and see if there is someone you can put on your team that the other guy might ignore, thinking they are not the best player. People are only as limited as their leader and a leader can only grow as his team grows. Pick your team wisely.