In training young leaders the skills of leadership, I used an exercise (“Winter Survival Exercise”) I found in an excellent group counselling psychology book (Joining Together by DW Johnson and FP Johnson). The leaders completed the problem resolution exercise on their own (on paper) and then the group will discuss their individual results to get to a group resolution of the problem. A few groups got better results than the best individual’s score. These teams reached “synergism.”
An optimum functioning group of people is capable of accomplishing things that no individual, no matter how multi-talented, could do alone. To function well, a team must be committed to a common vision and purpose, and it must be willing to work in unity for the improvement of the whole rather than the advancement of anyone member.
When Jesus selected the twelve disciples in Mark 3:13-19, He could not put together a more diverse team of people. They had so many different skills and background, though five of them were fishermen. Their characters differed and they had different opinions on most things. Though with a common vision and the strongest Leader (Jesus) ever, they reached synergism.
Synergism can be defined as the interaction of elements that, when combined, produce an effect that is greater than the sum of the individual parts.
Synergy is a joint action that increases the effectiveness of each member of a group of people/team.
From of a large pool of disciples who were following him, Jesus designated only twelve men who would become his apostles. This was such a significant decision that the Lord prayed all night to prepare for it:
“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles” (Luke 6:12-13).
Mark 3:14 adds that Jesus appointed these twelve apostles “that they might be with him and that he might send them out.” Jesus knew that this was the team that would be with him for the rest of his ministry, and he was prepared to pour himself unreservedly into their lives. Jesus’ actions, the unshakable reality of the resurrection and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit turned a group of men who were characterised by confusion, individualism, infighting and self-interest into a genuinely synergistic team.
Today the church, the body of Christ on earth, is not an organisation but an organism that manifests both unity and diversity. Ephesians 4:4-16 tell us about the dynamics and purpose of this organism, and 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 and Romans 12:3-8 tell us about how spiritual gifts contribute to the effectiveness of the groups of believers.
Lets work together, we can achieve more together than the leader can on his/her own.