By Janai Gibson

“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6).

Do you remember the statement, “there is no ‘I’ in team”? Maybe you have heard it from managers in the workplace, while volunteering with an organization, or even when working in groups in the classroom. I cannot count the many times I have heard this statement in an attempt to promote the idea or picture of unity. It is most often said to inspire or foster the concept of oneness. Typically to meet some goal or reach an accomplishment. Yet, one of the greatest forms of unity I have ever experienced is the togetherness practiced and felt as an athlete out on the field, court, or even on the track. 

As an athlete, throughout my high school experience, I fell in love with the sport of volleyball. I vividly remember walking into the gymnasium for the first day of practice during my senior year and trying to adjust to the group of girls I’d be playing with for that season. Some of the girls from the prior year had graduated, transferred schools, or just decided not to play, and a few new girls had joined the team. So, it all felt a bit different. As we began to practice and move through our different rotations, there was a bit of a struggle. We had not developed or garnered this idea of togetherness nor gotten a feel for one another’s play styles.

One day, our coach walked us through our rotations and explained that it should all resemble a well-put-together dance. We should be in sync with one another and on the same accord, not stepping on one another’s toes and stumbling to find the rhythm or catch the beat. When one member of the team moves, the rest should follow. No one should be apart from the team, doing their own thing. We move as one because we are one. He made it clear that through unity, we would find our success.

The fun had just begun, as it took some time to adjust and get acclimated with one another. Everything moved a bit smoother after this. We started to form and strengthen relationships with one another. We started to enjoy playing alongside each other truly. We were able to accomplish so much more out on the court. The use of unity and truly being “all in” to becoming one and working alongside one another did nothing but benefit us. We performed better both in games and practice as we had one goal and desire–to play the best volleyball possible.

This concept of oneness or togetherness does not have to stop when the shot clock buzzes or the game ends. In fact, unity in Christ should never end. It should outlast our unity in sports, togetherness in the classroom, and even oneness in the workplace. There is no “I” in team! We should be unified and come together as the body of Christ. Despite small differences, Christ is the one essence we will always have in common, the one unifying center. Just like my volleyball team, we as Christians should have one goal and one desire, to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

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