Church Or Sports Team?

January 12, 2002
by Ruth McCowan

1 Corinthians 12:12 – The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all of its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. (NIV)

In a recent English class, where we were learning reading and writing skills, we were exploring the meaning behind different words. Our instructor listed a variety of words, and we were asked to choose one word and come up with a definition for it. "Church" was one of the words that she listed, but I chose not to tackle that one. Instead, I chose to define the term "sports team". Here is what I wrote: "A sports team is a collection of individuals who work together, much like the parts of a body work together, doing different tasks, but are still just one body. The team needs each individual player to play his or her position to the best of his or her ability. The team members also need to encourage each other whether the play is successful or not."

There were about six or seven students in my class who did choose to define "church". Now I don't know if these students were involved in a church or not, but it was interesting that all of them defined the church in terms of the building, the stained glass windows, the high ceiling, etc.

If we were to define the church, how would we define it? I think, without realizing it, my definition of a sports team could easily have been a definition of the church. The church, to me, is much more than a building; it is the people. As Paul put it so perfectly in his letter to the church in Corinth, the church "is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all of its parts are many, they form one body." Our task is to discover what position we need to play on the team, to get out there and play to the best of our ability, and to cheer each other on.

Prayer: Loving God, thank you so much for calling us to be a part of the church, to be a part of your team. Help us to discover the gifts that you have given us so that we can use them to the best of our ability and to your glory in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

About the author:

Ruth McCowan <>
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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