I have an interest in passion plays, so when my pastor asked me to serve on the Easter drama team with a small group of fellow believers, I eagerly agreed. As a team, we worked on the production with one goal — to express the incredible sacrifice Christ made on the cross.
Our team was made up of three males and three females. Initially I wondered: would the males want a production that dealt with the facts of the Gospel message while the females sought a more emotional experience? If I stuck to my guns on a point, would I be seen as aggressive? However, as we dug ardently into our task, gender differences fell away. Looking back, I see a tiny snapshot of God’s plan for his people — a plan where believers work side-by-side with love, hope and purpose.
Gender differences undoubtedly exist. Having worked in both male- and female-dominated workplaces, I have observed firsthand the many ways men and women communicate and relate differently. I have also witnessed the evils of gender discrimination, sexual sin and exclusion. The important thing to remember is that those evils are not caused by our differences, but by our fallen state. Our differences are not sinful. How we respond to those differences can be.
The truth is, we all have strengths and weaknesses. While some may be gifted diplomats, others might be no-nonsense communicators. Some may be task-oriented while others are more relational. It is the blend of these strengths that creates fruits for God’s kingdom. Despite my experiences with the fallen state of humanity in the workplace and the church, I have also seen the amazing results of male-female partnerships — results that might not have been achieved if both men and women weren’t involved.
Although they exist, our differences shouldn’t be central to our work. When we collaborate with others, God should never be far from our sight. With God as our focus, petty concerns fall way, leaving behind only legitimate issues.
A quick search of the Bible reveals there are dozens of verses about working together. Collaborating is clearly something God has called us to do. Going about it biblically is the best way to do it.
Paul writes in Philippians 2:2: “Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one heart and purpose.” I believe that verse holds the key to effective relationships among Christians. Be of like mind. Care about each other. And work in unity. Do those things describe your collaborations?