A tribe is one of the newer terms to describe a specific group of people with a common bond. Whatever the common bond might be, it ties people together as a like-minded unit. It could be a cause, a leader, or a common interest.
A tribe needs someone to be the leader. In pre-PC days they might be referred to as a chief. But their title or designation isn't what's important. What is important is their leadership. For a tribe or any community to continue to function as a unit, the leader needs to be able to lead them together.
A Body, not an institution
The church—the Body of Christ, as it's called in the Bible—is a community of believers with a common bond. What's the common bond for the church? Jesus. He is also the head of the church—its primary leader. It's more than a tribe, it's a family with one Father and many children.
The church is not an institution, as some may think. Not God's church. It stretches far beyond any organization or institutional hierarchy governed by man. And God never designed it to be populated by individuals who participate only for how it benefits them or best fits their needs.
[bctt tweet="The church stretches far beyond any organization or institutional hierarchy of man"]
How God designed His church is illustrated by the celebration of communion, also called the Lord's Supper or the Eucharist. It is not a remembrance of Jesus' suffering on the cross, but a time to remember Him. He who is our common bond and the Shepherd of our souls. We are to remember who He is and what He did upon the cross and through His resurrection.
A common commitment
Our common bond as a body of believers is what enables us to be a community, but it doesn't mean we function as one. Our ability and willingness to function as a community is based on our commitment to surrender our will and life to Jesus.
[bctt tweet="Our common bond as a body of believers is what enables us to be a community"]
He is our common bond, and it is our collective relationship with Him that enables us to be a community. We function best as a community when our surrender and humility to Jesus overflows into our relationships with one another.
This is the picture revealed to us in the book of Acts where, "All who believed were together and held everything in common..." (Acts 2:44 NET). Again we're told, "The group of those who believed were of one heart and mind, and no one said that any of his possessions was his own, but everything was held in common" (Acts 4:32).
What was their secret?
I wrote a post recently about the value of a team in leadership transition. It got me thinking, "How does a church develop a leadership team?" This got me to reflect on what the church's foundation is for being a team. The early church "held everything in common." This is what made them a true community.
[bctt tweet="The early church held everything in common, which made them a true community"]
The biblical Greek word for this commonality is koinonia (1 Cor 10:16 NKJV), which is also where we draw the word communion. As mentioned above, what draws believers together when celebrating communion is our common relationship with Jesus.
This is what Jesus prayed for on the night He was betrayed—
“I am not praying only on their behalf, but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their testimony, that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me." (John 17:20-21 NET)
The apostle Paul exhorts the church in Philippi with a similar heart—
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: (Phil 2:3-5 NET)
When we experience this type of community as a church body, we have the proper foundation for developing a leadership team. It reflects the nature of the chief Shepherd, Jesus (1 Peter 5:1-5).
Next week I'll look at how to build a leadership team on this foundation. If you haven't read the 3-part series on leadership transition, links for the first two posts are in the third post. Here's the link–Leadership Transition and the Value of a Team
What do you think is needed for building a leadership team on a solid foundation?