The summer between high school and university I worked as a camp counselor. On top of leading the youngest boys’ cabin, I was responsible for leading or assisting with different electives. Based on my interests, I usually lead either the basketball/volleyball or the roller blading elective – I didn’t once step inside the arts and crafts room.
Our theme for the summer was “The Body of Christ” taken from 1 Corinthians 12. So, the first elective period each week I would pull out my Bible and read verses 12-26 to the campers and discuss how that would apply to our planned activity. For basketball/volleyball, I found the object lessons quite easy. Both sports involve players taking on different roles, working as a team – everyone aiming for a common goal.
With roller blading, the analogy wasn’t so obvious to me. The first week, I didn’t do a good job relating the scripture. “Armour of God” would have been a much better theme as half the class period seemed to be taken up by putting on skates and pads. The second time I led the group, I was better prepared to convey Paul’s ideas. Verses 25-26 became the focal point:
“25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
Each member of the group had a certain skill level and ability. The ones with more talent or stronger skating ability needed to help the weaker ones; while the ones that needed the most help, needed to communicate to make sure that the others weren’t moving too fast for them. Some campers were great at finding the matching wrist guards, and others were good at helping to get the safety gear on. We all had to support and encourage each other as we skated around the campgrounds together.
In the church, sometimes we look at the roles as they are defined in a team sport. We see certain roles as the “starters” who carry the bulk of the load, get most of the attention and have more value. I think God envisioned the Church to be more like a big group of roller bladers; everyone is equally important, with their own role to play. Sure, some are at the front of the group, but the ones at the back are there supporting the efforts. The key is that each person, dedicating their talents and interests to His purpose, plays the role God has designed them for.
Some people are preachers or choir leaders; someone has to take on these positions, but there are roles just as valuable for those who are more comfortable behind the scenes. We need empathetic listeners who care for those in need, patient organizers to keep the rest of us in line and on task and dependable congregation members who are always where they say they will be to lend a helping hand.
There is a role for everyone; God gave us unique skill sets and interests. Nothing makes the Father happier than seeing all of his children working together and helping each other along.