THE BLOG
10/15/2013 09:08 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

A Missing Word in Washington

Two weeks into the government shutdown "showdown" in Washington and something is undeniably missing. In fact, if we common citizens could snatch the mental lexicon of our legislators we would inject a word desperately vacant in the beltway vocabulary. And that word?

Collaboration.

Where is that when we need it most?

In order to succeed in today's world there is a new skill needed. It is proving true in every sector of society, financial, educational, military and ecclesial. With sharpened skills of collaboration, you and your organization will be at a significant advantage. Without it, you will be limited. Ironically, at present, the 600 or so people we have elected to lead us in Washington are proving sorely deficient in what should be a primary characteristic of statesmen. Is there anyone left in Washington who knows how to or is willing to ...

Collaborate?

The infighting and deeply-ingrained division in Washington is begging for a stouthearted, dare I say magnanimous (when is the last time you even heard that word?), individual to lead the way. The time for teams and teaming in leadership is not coming -- it is here! It has arrived! The question is: have you?

People in churches, businesses and other organizations are no longer responding the way they used to towards hierarchical maneuverings and manipulations. They are tired of being pushed; they instead want to be drawn and inspired with the sense that they are a part of something greater than themselves. In the church, they want to know that they have a share in building the Kingdom of God. In our nation, deep down we are desperate for a leader who will look us in the eye and call us to see beyond the reds and blues, the donkey and the elephant, and remember that we are all made of the same flesh-and-blood, day-to-day, hard-working-challenged lives. We need to be reminded just how much we have in common. God knows we spend millions underlining our differences.

The fact is we need some serious teaming skills in Washington and we need them soon.

The word team itself comes from the Latin root deuk, which means "to pull" or "to draw." In a real sense, teams are groups of people who pull together to reach a common goal. They are the people pulling not only for their church or organization, but pulling for each other, and pulling for their shared potential in life and service.

Teaming is not only an important skill for Christian leaders and workers; it is fast becoming the skill of the age. The Association of American Colleges and Universities recently commissioned a study to be done to determine what the most needed skills for today's graduates, the skills they will need in order to thrive in the current world and economy.

What was the top skill on the list? What do you think it was?

Innovation?

No.

That is important, but was actually Number 5 on the list.

Number 4 was being able to organize information.

Number 3 was oral and written communication.

Number 2 was critical thinking and reasoning.

And Number One on the list was ...

TEAMWORK SKILLS!

That's right. To be specific, the report cited "teamwork skills and the ability to collaborate with others in diverse group settings." In other words, to thrive in the new world you don't just need to know how to work, but how to work ...

TOGETHER.

Let's pray Washington chooses to live what they claim students need to "learn."

In the words of Isaiah, "Come, let us reason together ..." (Is. 1:18a)

This post is adapted from a new book by Robert Crosby -- The Teaming Church: Ministry in the Age of Collaboration.

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