People gather for lots of reasons.
A group just showed up at the same place and time. It’s a collection of individuals with different purposes and destinations, but for this moment they’ve formed a group.
A crowd is a group gathered for some common purpose, but there’s not much interaction among the members. Concerts and car wrecks draw crowds. They’re focused on the spectacle, not on each other.
A mob forms when a crowd gathers around fear. Social media mobs bully others because they fear what’s different.
When Jesus called His disciples, He didn’t gather a group, or a crowd, or a mob.
Jesus created a team.
Teams aren’t there simply for the spectacle or even the purpose. The best teams are formed when each member decides to serve the others.
This servant leader dynamic plays out most visibly in sports, where collections of supremely talented, highly paid superstars frequently fail to achieve championships. Over and over it’s clear that long-term winning requires a level of sacrifice not found in a what’s-in-it-for-me approach.
Same principles apply in workplaces, families, churches – anywhere people gather, they can form groups, crowds, mobs…or teams.
Jesus didn’t call the disciples because He needed them. I think they were a demonstration of what a team’s about. He wanted to show us how it’s supposed to work, how we’re supposed to live and work together. He spent three years walking and talking and hanging out with these folks and then told them to go out and do the same thing. And He left a record of their interactions so we could see how to live and work and love together.
So much goes into being a great teammate, but it boils down to story. I have to care more about your story and our story than I do about my story.
Nothing about that is easy. Me-first is easy. Hiding behind my fear in the mob is easy.
Jesus promised, “Where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”
Following and serving? That’s not easy.