I 've learned something very important this summer so far. Teamwork, while sometimes frustrating, complicated and hard, leads to results that are much more rewarding than what I can accomplish on my own. You'd think that I would have learned that already, but the examples of teamwork that I have been a part of recently have resulted in exceptional rewards.
With about 15 other Habitat for Humanity volunteers, I lifted up the frame for a wall on a home. With three other youth and Christian education directors, I planned a weeklong summer program that brought together 30 kids (ages 6 – 18) and about seven adult volunteers from three churches that allowed them to make new friends, have fun playing games and singing together, and got them out into the city of Omaha by serving in a different site every morning. By the time we ended the week with a pizza lunch at Table Grace, I was rewarded with an offering of more than $200 to present to Head Chef Matt Weber and many smiles from both kids who had made new friends or grown closer with old ones and had fun, and adults (parents and grandparents) who were so happy with the week their kids had had.
Similarly, it is great to see the Kids at Work kids getting to know each other better and have a good time together as they work. They are doing a super job at the organizations where they have worked; their help has been very much appreciated and their positive attitudes are really great as well. As I write, Vacation Bible School is just a few days away, too, and I know it takes a lot of teamwork to make that happen.
Even though I have always felt wonderfully supported by both congregations this year, at times I have also felt very alone. I know that God is always with me, but when I have to make a tough decision or think about a tough situation and I'm on my own, I get scared. That is why it has been so great for me to see the results of teamwork recently...I've seen God working through other people and am reminded that other people want to work with me through those tough decisions and situations, too. I don't have to do it all on my own.
I think that's a good point to keep in mind for the future of the church – Grace, the Nebraska Synod, the ELCA, everybody. When it comes to being active in ministry, our individual motivation is important, but we do not have to do it all on our own, and we really CAN'T. We need God with us – in our individual spiritual time, and in work with each other. We need to work together to show God in ourselves to each other. Teamwork is sometimes frustrating, complicated and hard – showing up to meetings, figuring out how to deal with discomforts and disagreements, etc. – but being saved by grace is also about doing good works; even good works that aren't always fun. I can't say it enough or more emphatically – the rewards of doing good works together make life meaningful.