Wednesday, April 25, 2007

TheHighCalling.org blog tour

I've mentioned previously on this blog that I've written articles for TheHighCalling.org, a website dedicated to helping Christians integrate their faith and their daily work. The site just recently relaunched, and editor Marcus Goodyear invited me to be part of their blog tour. So let me encourage you to visit their site and explore the articles, Bible studies and other resources they have available there. They have material by all sorts of folks: theologians Darrell Guder and Bill Dyrness, spirituality writers Eugene Peterson and Emilie Griffin, biblical scholar and Jesus Creed blogger Scot McKnight, Fuller Seminary president Richard Mouw, literary writers Luci Shaw, James Schaap and Virginia Stem Owens, worship guru Robb Redman and Asian American chick lit author Camy Tang. A wide breadth of thoughtful people from various fields and disciplines - something for everyone.

Here's an excerpt of my most recent article there, "The 'I' in 'Community,'" in which I muse about the role of the individual in team settings:
On the one hand, there's the danger of elevating the group to the exclusion of the individual. This error tells individuals they are unimportant and interchangeable, replaceable and disposable, like cogs in a machine. On the other hand, teams can be derailed by strong individual personalities asserting their own self-importance. Star performers sometimes use a team merely as a vehicle for their own success.

The answer is to balance both individual and corporate identities. We see examples of this in the ministry of Paul. He did not go on missionary journeys alone if he could avoid it. Paul's standard operating procedure was to work in partnership, with Barnabas or Silas, or in a larger community, with people like Luke, Priscilla, Aquila, Timothy, Sopater, and Gaius. These colleagues were Paul's coworkers in their daily efforts and often his collaborators and cowriters in his letters. Paul mentored them in community, and then sent them on individual assignments, going places Paul could not go himself. For example, Timothy served as Paul's emissary to Thessalonica (1 Thess. 3:2), Phoebe delivered the epistle to the Romans (Rom. 16:1), and Titus was asked to troubleshoot in Crete (Titus 1:5). The strength of Paul's working community meant that his team members were well-qualified and equipped to take on their individual challenges.

The ultimate model for us is the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is simultaneously community and individuality. The Father sent the Son to do very specific individual tasks, and likewise the Spirit empowers us in ways that the Father and the Son do not. God is Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. God works as both community and individuals. Since we are created in God's image, we also work as individuals and in community. . . .
Go here to read the rest. Also, the following bloggers are also participating in this blog tour this week. Enjoy!

Gordon Atkinson, L. L. Barkat, Gina Conroy, Craver VII, CREEations, Milton Brasher-Cunningham, Mary DeMuth, Karl Edwards, Emdashery, Every Square Inch, Green Inventions, Amy Goodyear, Marcus Goodyear, Al Hsu, Jennwith2ns, Charles Foster Johnson, Mike McLoughlin, Eve Nielsen, Naked Pastor, Ramblin Dan, Charity Singleton, Stacy, Camy Tang, Writer… Interrupted

5 comments:

L.L. Barkat said...

Just waving a cheery tour "hello"!

Mark Goodyear said...

Al, you rock. It's interesting to see the little annotations about our authors. Makes me feel kind of proud (in the healthy worship-ful way, of course).

Your article struck me when you said some people "use a team merely as a vehicle for their own success."

As I work to help organize bloggers and maybe even teach them some good tricks for effective blogging, I am nervous that I will be perceived as having ulterior motives. In short, I worry that people will think I am creating a "virtual team" for the sole purpose of using it. Scary. I guess collaboration always is.

(Also, Dan is the editor-in-chief of the site. I'm content editor.)

L.L. Barkat said...

Mark, I think it is okay to use a team. Indeed, you are doing that. But the team knows that up front, and you have been a gracious, good-humored leader.

I do understand that sense of feeling like you've imposed, though. I was trying to decide if I'd feel comfortable doing a blog tour when my book comes out, and that same sense of anxiety you speak of went straight to my heart. In the end, though, if people participate willingly and if they receive benefit and pass benefit on to others... is that not a good thing?

Simon said...

Al, you've been awarded a thinking blogger award! Congratulations. Check out my site for details.

Stacy said...

Al,
Thank you for including me on your site for the blog tour. I enjoyed your article on team (the timing was amazing) and I intend to look for more of your articles at the High Calling. I also intend to read more of your blog, so if you see a Taiwan flag in your stats, that just might be me. :)

Blessings!

Stacy