Friday, November 6, 2009

The "A" Team...

A couple days ago I was skimming Facebook pictures of an old friend with whom I had reconnected.  As my eyes scanned, I was struck by the shot that contained this thumbnail.  My heart started to race.


I immediately recognized these "A" badges as visitor passes to the West Wing of the White House!

A little background...

I'm not a fan of politics... I'm not a fan of any particular politician... I'm not obsessed with Washington...

However, I am a huge fan of the television show "West Wing"!  I have seen these "A" passes on the show at least a hundred times.  Transparency is a top priority on this site, so I must confess that my wife and I watch a minimum of 3-4 episodes per week!  I know... ridiculous!  Especially considering the series ended in May of 2006 after seven seasons.  We can't get enough.  It is our nightly bedtime story.  To our credit, it's an on and off relationship.  We'll watch 2 or 3 seasons and then take a break for a few months.  But, we keep coming back. I'm not joking when I say it makes a bad day good for me.

I say all that so that I can tell you why the show makes my heart spring to life and spurs me to action in every area of leadership in my life. It's not the liberal bent of the show (although that aspect does challenge me to refine or at least define my shallow political paradigm) and it's not that I have a thing for Allison Janney.

Out with it, you say.  OK... it's the teamwork and urgency of purpose.

Jed Bartlet (President), Leo McGarry, Josh Lymon, Toby Ziegler, CJ Cregg and Sam Seaborn (Senior Staff members to the President)... those are the characters of the parable to end all parables on teamwork.  The characters are far from perfect and are occasionally vivid portrayals of human selfishness and greed at its ugliest.  Oh no, it's not respect for the individuals that keeps us coming back.  It's how they work together for a common purpose that towers above their regard for individual rights and comforts.

This has everything to do with being a man!

One of the deepest longings in my heart is to be part of a team giving our lives away for a purpose greater than any of us on our best day!  Men die daily in service to purposes they perceive to be the greatest on Earth, but apart from those giving their lives for the sake of the Kingdom of God, there is always at least one greater pursuit.

There's some things I have learned from West Wing about serving with others for the sake of the Kingdom of God :
  1. One can serve his socks off without being perfect! One of the most beautiful aspects of teamwork is the common understanding that none of us is perfect.  We all make mistakes, so let's learn from them, forgive one another and get past them!  Do some damage control for each other and move on.  There's a purpose much higher than holding grudges and it can't wait for petty fights.
  2. Know each other so deeply that you do not have to communicate who's up to bat, it just comes naturally. When team members know each other deeply and a challenge arises, they shouldn't have to spend any time deciding who is up to bat.  The person gifted in that area can spring into action quickly.
  3. Live your lives urgently for the sake of your cause.  If the cause is worth living for it should be worth dying for... ask Jesus.  Team members must be willing to sacrifice for each other for the sake of the cause.  This is the bond that holds the team together in the toughest times.
  4. Members of the team MUST extend a tremendous amount of grace! Playing off #1, if no one is perfect, that includes me!  How often do you get angry enough to quit because someone else is flawed?  Take it easy and let them be imperfect as you are imperfect (unless your name is Jesus).  It's OK as long as there is a solid commitment to continue growing together!  A highly respected pastor I read often says, "Come as you are, but don't stay that way!
How about you?  Do you long to be on a team committed to a purpose infinitely bigger than Earthly pursuits?

Why do you think we love to see the underdogs win the big ones?  Do you think it's because their goal is beyond them and they reach it anyway?  I do.

Have you ever daydreamed about being on a team like the Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers of the 80's?

What about the 1972 Dolphins or 1927 New York Yankees?

Hamburger Hill and Band of Brothers...  Batman and Robin... The Justice League...  The "A" Team :)...

It's in our blood men!  We long for partnership and purpose.

Let's live it... what do you say?

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