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Working Together, or Going It Alone?

(Creative Commons License)
(Creative Commons License)

By Ed Jordan

Which is faster and easier, working alone, or taking the time and risk of working together with others towards a common goal?  The answer to which is faster or easier depends upon a lot of factors in the situation, as well as the capability of the one worker or the many workers.

Often doing things alone seems much easier and insures more certainty that an end product will turn out as intended. But there are many benefits to working with others to get a project done.

Which is better, carrying the whole load by yourself and not allowing anyone else’s ideas or input to influence your decisions, or collaborating with others, allowing them to have a role in the dream formulation as well as dream implementation?

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.”

There are many proverbial sayings that state that two heads are better than one, that no man is an island, or that “what the people are not up on, they will be down on.”  In Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 we read of some of the good things that come out of planning and working together. In verse 9 (NLT) we read: “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.”

We live in a very complex world, where competition and “improvements” occur daily, perhaps even hourly.  A start-up business must now not only compete with the other start-up businesses in the local area, but also with multinational business megastores, as well as internet businesses.

To pretend that competition does not exist is, frankly, naïve.  It exists in the workplace among the workers, it exists in the marketplace, and it exists in and among churches and clubs.  Anyone who has pastored realizes that small churches have lost members and potential members to big box churches that offer a better weekly menu than any one small church can offer.

Competition exists in each of us, and in all of our organizations and businesses, as an innate motivator of self-improvement. Where there is no desire to improve and become better there will be no self-improvement, and that means there will be decline.

So how do we balance healthy competition as a motivator to continually improve in both quality and actualization of our personal, corporate, or church potential, with working together as a harmonious symphony?  Hmmm …  a symphony?  What makes a symphony outstanding?  What are some of the ingredients that make one symphony stunning and successful, while another is lack-luster?

Symphonies are composed of many musicians who are very good at what they do. They know what their role is in any particular production, practice their parts both alone and as a group, and do not fall for the delusion that the whole symphony revolves around one instrument.

Members realize that they have a vital role to play, but that it must be played in harmony and coordination with all the other members of the symphonic group. There is a score or script to follow, and there are leaders (i.e. the conductor, as well as first chair section leaders) who coordinate the ongoing harmonious implementation of the musicians.

We can do more together than we can alone.

Churches, associations, and conventions are symphonies comprised of many people and organizations that each have roles to fulfill in order for the whole production to be effective, and indeed outstanding.  We can do more together than we can alone.  Coming together to produce beautiful music requires the participation, commitment, cooperation, trust, and synergy of the many in order to produce an effective and successful harmonious whole.

The symphony needs to have every instrument present and involved.  So does a business, a corporation, a church, a missional group, and a community.  What role are you gifted to fulfill? Are you cooperating with the rest of the members to accomplish what needs to be done?

Mutual trust, commitment, and involvement make all the difference in the world between producing beautiful music, or no music at all! How would your cooperating participation improve God’s work in your church, town, region, among Baptists in Virginia, or in the world?

ed-jordan2Award-winning columnist Dr. Ed Jordan is pastor of Gwynn’s Island Baptist Church,  Gwynn, VA.

He can be reached at szent.edward@gmail.com.

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