Build A Life Team of FOUR!
“The Life Team is your guardian against isolation and darkness.”
-Philip K. Hardin, LPC
By Philip K. Hardin, LPC
How many on the court of a basketball team at one time? Five!
How many on the diamond of a baseball team at one time? Nine!
How many on the field of a football team at one time? Eleven!
How many on a Life Team at one time? Four!
Life is best lived on a team of four. It is the model of Jesus.
He had twelve disciples, but he was especially close to three – James, Peter, and John. They were with Jesus at the transfiguration - Matthew 17:1, Mark 9:2; and Jesus asked them to be with him, when he prayed for strength for his impending execution on the Cross in Mark 14:33. A Life Team of four is the model of David.
David’s 30 mightiest warriors are listed in II Samuel 23:8-39, with the top three, Adino, Eleazar, and Shammah, being listed in verses 8-11. These three mighty warriors give us insights into personal leadership and being a warrior for God!
In Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, God tells us that it is better not to be a loner. Verse 12 tells us that two people can withstand someone who is very powerful better than one person alone, and even better are three people together. The wisdom of Solomon says it best: A wise man has three people on his Life Team.
A Life Team of four is the picture of each individual believer having an intimate connection to God. We are intimately connected to God—the Father, God—the Son, and God—the Holy Spirit. The Godhead models that our ideal Life Team is a team of 4 - you and three others.
To be on a Life Team means to know and be known.
Your Life Team knows your story. If we gathered your Life Team and asked them, “How is he doing?” they should be able to accurately tell us what’s going on with you; where you are; what your desire; and what your greatest fears are. The Life Team is your guardian against isolation and darkness. Your Life Team knows 90% of your story. They may not know everything, but they know a significant amount of your past, your present, and where you are headed in your future. Ideally, you meet with them regularly in a group setting, but if you are geographically separated, or if they do not know each other, the important criteria is that they know you and you are in regular communication! The Enemy of our soul is continually seeking to get us isolated from living in community. The smallest and most strategic element of community is the unit of four—a Life Team.
I have been very open about my personal journey of growth involving a 30 day stay at the Minirth-Meier Mental Health Clinic in Gardena, California. I was married with two baby girls and I was hurting, confused, and lost. I needed help so I checked myself into this mental health clinic. As I prepared to cut the plastic hospital bracelet off my wrist, I was told, “You need to get in a group that you are not leading and begin doing life with others who know you and you can know them.” Up to that point, I had led many groups, but I had never really participated in a group as a peer or team member. When I arrived home to Philadelphia, I called my friend Denny Gilbert. Together we formed a group of other brothers and begin meeting on Tuesday nights, sharing our lives, supporting one another, and courageously telling our broken stories to one another. We attacked shame, revealed secrets, and acknowledged damaging agreements we had made with the Enemy about ourselves that were lies. The Life Team became the foundation of my life and has helped me through many battles since.
Gladiator has to be one of the best all-time ‘guy’ movies. I love it, not only for the awesome fight scenes, but it’s also full of little nuggets of truth; and all truth is God’s truth. When Russell Crowe enters the coliseum with all the other gladiators, his knowledge and experience of battle, leads him to take charge. He says to the rest of them, “We have a better chance of survival if we work together. Do you understand? If we stay together, we survive.” When the enemy comes out looking to destroy them, a few decide to go off on their own and are immediately cut down. They obviously didn’t understand. But those who stick together will win the battle and emerge victorious.
The same is true in life. You have to get into a circle, a small group of some sort. I’ve known too many people who have lost their way because they were isolated. Get in a circle!
Life is a team sport. I believe that God supplies that which we need to face whatever confronts us. His provision most often comes in the form of relationships and connection. We will not be defeated if we stay together - if we are surrounded by those who know us and care about us. The greatest tool in the hand of the Enemy is to convince us that we are alone, no one cares, or that secrets will protect us. NO! That is a lie. Truth wins. I have seen courageous honesty and vulnerability in the context of safe relationships overcome the deepest fears and failures in the lives of men, women, and couples. I have seen families healed because they began to operate as a Life Team and stop warring against one another. Standing together works. Living life on a Life Team is the model that wins!
Who’s on your Life Team?