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Oneness . . . November 21, 2014

BasketballAs we do quite often on these pages, we’re pleased to offer another thoughtful message by Reverend Mark Adams, Senior Pastor of Redland Baptist Church in Rockville, Maryland:

As we see in the draft every year, when it comes to winning games, most pro sports teams go after talented players. Everyone wants a team of stars. But a new research study published by Roderick Swaab in Psychological Science argues that too many talented players can actually hurt the team’s overall performance. The research study is titled “The Too-Much Talent Effect.”    

When the researchers analyzed professional sports, especially basketball and soccer, they discovered that talented players helped teams win, but only up to a point. In fact, teams loaded with star players found that the too-much talent effect hurt the team’s chances of winning. Teams with the greatest proportion of elite athletes actually performed worse than those with more moderate proportions of top-level players. Star-studded basketball teams had less assists and rebounds than teams with more average players. The researchers concluded, “When teams need to come together, more talent can tear them apart.”

An article by Cyndi May in Scientific American summarizing the study observed: “Why is too much talent a bad thing? Think teamwork. In many endeavors, success requires [team effort] towards a goal that is beyond the capability of any one individual. When a team roster is flooded with individual talent, pursuit of personal star-status may prevent the attainment of team goals. The basketball player chasing a point record, for example, may cost the team by taking risky shots instead of passing to a teammate.”

This is a Biblical principle that is seen in “winning churches.” Effective congregations are filled with members whose goal is to pool their God-given talents in order to do His will. They aren’t composed of stars focused on their own glory but rather with individuals who respect one another and work as a team.  I guess you could say, “There is no ‘I’ in ‘church.” Paul talked about this in 1 Corinthians 12:12 when he compared the church to a body:

“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.  If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. Those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. There should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”                                                                                                                                                © 2014 Mark Adams

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