"The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink."—1 Corinthians 12:12-13 (NIV)
In a January 2007 survey, George Barna reported only 41% of church attendees are satisfied with the "level of community and personal connectedness" they experience within their church. In other words, the majority of church attendees feel disconnected from their church.
The Apostle Paul compared Christ-followers to the human body. In the 1 Corinthians 12 he discusses how each and every part of the body contributes to the whole. Without the eye, the body is blind. Without the foot, the body is lame. In the same way the "Body of Christ," is limited when members of that body remain detached from the whole.
A verse I frequently use with groups during team building sessions is Galatians 6:2, "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." (NIV). Only rarely can groups define what is the "law of Christ." Jesus told us in John 13:34, "A new law I give you: Love one another." So when we carry each other's burdens we are, in fact, loving each other, and therefore fulfilling the law of Christ. Ultimately, developing teamwork in Christian groups is about loving each other—by valuing a person enough to practice clear communication skills, to respect, to encourage, and to trust.
Early this year I had a minister bring his youth for a recreational event. Afterwards, he wrote to me about the experience. "The most enjoyable part was watching my students grow in their relationships to one another and learn what they can do together." There was no mention of the activities or the challenge course itself. It was the growth he observed in his youth that stood out.
What is your church doing to help increase the level of community and personal connectedness in your congregation? Connectedness does not have to be big and organized. It can be as simple as a time for coffee and donuts on Sunday morning. Combine regular, casual interactions with annual church retreats and you can be sure to watch the unity of your church grow.