What Hospice Taught Me About Teamwork

A Genesis Church assures the entire congregation and all ministries work within a team and collaborate with a unified mission to make disciples.

 Image found at: http://www.publicsectorexecutive.com

Image found at: http://www.publicsectorexecutive.com

“He’s tired, Em.  He’s ready to go home to be with Jesus.  We have called in hospice to care for him during the last few days of his life.”


I knew the word.  It inherently meant that someone, MY someone, was going to die soon.  It was the job of “hospice” to make sure that my grampa was comfortable in his last days here on earth.  

And as my mom gave me this difficult news, I was grateful for THEM.

“Hospice” consisted of my grampa’s doctor and nurses from the nursing home, his social worker, and his long-time pastor.   THEY were going to work together to make sure that his last few days were comfortable in all facets of life, including the physical, emotional and spiritual; THEY were working towards a common goal, and only by working together could the goal become a reality. 

The doctors and nurses would make sure that he was comfortable, adjusting medications when necessary, while the social worker was attentive to the daily routines and schedules that he was subjected to.  All the while, his pastor would be giving wise, Godly counsel to both my grampa who was ready to see Jesus, and my family members that were already grieving the loss.  No one’s plan undermined another – all the professionals had to work together.  This is the beauty of hospice – people working together to achieve the common good of the patient. 

Sounds to me like hospice has owned Paul’s words to the Romans when he says:

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought…so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (12:3,5; NIV)

The seventh characteristic of a Genesis church is one that assures the entire congregation and all ministries work within a team and collaborate with a unified mission to make disciples.  In his letter to the Romans, Paul exhorts the congregation to not think of yourself more highly than you ought…” and in my opinion, this is the key to teamwork in the Church.

Have you recently heard any of these betraying remarks in your congregation?

  • I can’t visit John after his surgery; I’m too tired after work.  Isn’t that the pastor’s job anyway?
  • You know I won’t work with children – they are so loud and disrespectful.
  • Clean the sanctuary?  We are busy practicing music for the next service, so we can’t help out.
  • These neighborhood kids are ruining our building – if they don’t come with a parent, then they shouldn’t come at all!
  • Hey Pastor, I have an idea for a great outreach project! Can you plan it?

Unfortunately, comments just like these ring through church buildings every week!  CHURCH – Humble yourself.  Work together.  We are at our best when we are working together to make CHRISTLIKE DISCIPLES. We are at our worst when we are ministries that only care about the success of MY program.

Humor me, if you will, and imagine the comments of a Church that is working together:

  • I heard you are planning an evangelistic activity in a couple of weeks – is there anything we can do to help?
  • Wow, we have a lot of new children attending Sunday School on Sunday mornings! I’m not a great teacher, but can I help with “crowd control”?
  • We are collecting home goods for a family that lost most of their possessions in a house fire – can you participate?
  • I can’t go on the mission trip next summer, but I would love to sponsor someone financially and pray for her.

Much like hospice working together for the good of my grampa in his last days, I believe that the Church can work together for the good of humanity all of her days. You see, that is where the biggest difference is seen, in the fact that our mission doesn’t have an ending date.  Our teamwork and testimony of humility will make an eternal difference as more disciples of Christ are added to the team.

Will you take the challenge?  Find a way to humbly offer your help and service to another member of your congregation – seek to build up the team, as we make more Christ-like disciples in the nations TOGETHER.

A Genesis Church assures the entire congregation and all ministries work within a team and collaborate with a unified mission to make disciples.

--Emily Armstrong, missionary in the Church of the Nazarene