Book Critique: Doing Church As A Team by Wayne Cordeiro

Cordeiro achieves his goal

Cordeiro, Wayne. Doing Church as a Team. Ventura: Regal Books, 2001. 228 pp. $ 14.99
Doing Church as a Team was written by Pastor Wayne Cordeiro in order to emphasize unity among believers. It is the togetherness among believers that allows them to work towards a clearly defined goal. As everyone within the body involves themselves in ministry, everyone shares in the joys and rewards of success. Wayne shows pastors and church leaders how to identify the hidden callings of church members and leads them to accomplish the task to which God has called them.
Wayne Cordeiro is the founding pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship in Honolulu, Hawaii. Pastor Cordeiro planted this church in September of 1995, the membership grew rapidly. Their church currently has over 14,500 thousand people in weekend attendance. Under New Hope, one hundred and eight churches have been birthed in Hawaii, Africa, Australia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Japan and parts of the mainland United States. Nationally, he has planted churches in Hawaii, California, Montana, Washington, and Nevada. He has recently accepted the role as President over his alma mater, Eugene Bible College, now known as New Hope Christian College. NHCC is now part of a consortium of Pacific Rim Christian Colleges with locations in Hawaii, Oregon, Myanmar, and Tokyo.
Wayne grew up in the Palolo Valley on Oahu and lived in Japan for three years. He later moved to Oregon where he finished his schooling at Eugene Bible College. Before returning to Hawaii, he served with Youth For Christ for seven years and as pastor to Faith Center Foursquare Church for three years. He has authored ten books, including such classics as: Doing Church as a Team, Dream Releasers, Seven Rules of Success, Attitudes That Attract Success, Divine Mentor, Leading on Empty and The Encore Church. Wayne is also the author of The Life Journal, which is being used by thousands of churches worldwide, to bring people back to the Word of God. He is also an accomplished songwriter who has released six albums. His “Words of New Hope,” radio broadcast, airs daily in Hawaii and Oregon.
Wayne travels throughout the islands, the continental United States and Asia to speak at conferences, churches, civic gatherings, prisons, business forums, and leadership conventions. He also speaks to companies and corporations about restructuring and growth strategies. Pastor Wayne and his wife, Anna, have three married children and four grandchildren. His hobbies include music, reading, water sports, and riding his Harley Davidson. Wayne and Anna now split their time between Hawaii and Eugene, Oregon where they have a family farm. There he leads New Hope Christian College, writes, and enjoys spending time with his grandchildren.
Pastor Wayne’s book titled, Doing Church as a Team, was written to help church leaders become like the person or church Jesus intended. Throughout his book, Wayne refers to the illustration of paddlers rowing together in an outrigger canoe. God’s design for each church can only be achieved, as long as each member operates in their (spiritual) giftedness in unison with other members. Wayne states, “He (God) has designed each church with a special purpose…God has given each of us a unique gift…He created us to do church as a team.” [20] This is God’s plan from the beginning and each person created in His image has a specific role in service to God. At the moment of salvation, God wants to work through His followers to tell others about the redemptive story that invites people to eternal life. Believers are empowered by the Holy Spirit to accomplish this task. His role is to grant each Christian a divine gift and to remind them that they have an important part to play. Wayne stresses the point that the influence a church has on its community will be determined by the percentage of involvement in the ministry of each member.
God takes ordinary people and gives them divine endowments to accomplish His will. Church leaders must not only equip others but motivate them to serve and do the actual work of ministry. The end results of saints operating in their giftedness are healthy and vibrant churches. Both the believer and church reach their full potential and maximum effectiveness with a minimum amount of weariness. Pastor Wayne accentuates that fitting into a church is a process and patience is necessary because God is developing character in the believer. He desires each believer to have the right motives and heart before serving in the body of Christ. The key to doing church is to build servant leaders and to constantly reproduce them. Wayne points to the fact that each church has potential leadership within the body of Christ. The key to doing church as a team is to identity, train, and mobilize them for service towards a common goal. As long as pastors and church leaders abstain from jealousy or insecurity then a successful team can be established.
The greatest role of a pastor according to Wayne is to believe in the people under his care. [104] The key to developing leaders is the support of the dreams, visions, or aspirations of young entrepreneurs within the congregation, this necessarily includes encouraging them to take risks for God. Potential leaders can only develop their gifts by using them and at times that involves the risk of making a mistake. Those moments of failure help to develop character and character does not develop outside of involvement. [114] Vision of ministry is developed from powerful dreams which spring up in the hearts of its members. Harnessing the potential power and moving together in alignment toward the same cause is one of the most important elements to vision casting as well as the establishment of core values. When people make decisions consistent with the core values, church leaders achieve a wonderful synergy of balance and truth.
Pastor Wayne attributes his success in ministry to core values being in tandem with his church’s mission statement. His church became a living organism as a result of establishing a common culture, similar thinking, and reproduction of its members. Church leaders must be intentional in developing healthy church cultures. Wayne suggests that other pastor leaders use Biblical Totems, developed by church leadership as a method to achieve right culture, right relationships, and success with the body of Christ. If each member of the team feels cared for and fulfilled, then the whole ministry benefits, and the church gets help.
Pastor Cordeiro achieves his goal of communicating to his readers the concept of developing the spiritual gifts of members in the church in order to become a successful leader. Each ministry doing their part in the church, along with every member (excitedly) doing church as a team is clearly communicated in his book. Wayne uses constant illustrations and examples to illuminate the importance of believers working towards a common goal. The continual imagery of believers rowing together in a canoe clearly expresses the importance of team work. The imagery of the paddles used while rowing being the representation of unique thumbprints, or individual circuitry, effectively illustrates and the concept confirms the premise set forth for doing church as a team. God instituted the church and empowered each believer to work in harmony to reach people.
Pastor Wayne reminds believers that oneness of purpose within the church will push back the darkness and rescue lost souls. The church is to be a battleship and not a cruise liner. Therefore, pastors as well as laymen are responsible for doing the work of the ministry. God designed Christians to use their gifts to serve as revealed in scripture. Wayne gives many biblical examples in support for his idea of the church working together. In chapter seven of the book, Wayne surmises that the perceived absence of leadership in the church among laymen can be attributed to the pastor’s inability to recognize or utilize the giftedness of his flock. He refers to Moses, in chapter fifteen of his book, as a leader who had to be taught this lesson. According to Wayne, Moses was so preoccupied with what God had not provided for him that he overlooked the wondrous gifts God had given him. [90]
Pastor Wayne’s overall conclusion is that it is possible for churches to learn to do church as a team if church leaders are willing to make the necessary adjustments. Those changes include modifying the culture within the church, knowing what you want, identifying biblical values, and communicating the message of change with leaders and laymen. This approach is unique in that Wayne overlooks the power of prayer. Much of the book discusses recognizing human potential and building emerging leaders. This approach isn’t much different from secular corporations and their approach to leadership development. Scripture teaches that the heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.” (Prov 21:1) Therefore, His will be accomplished in His people, and not their personal dreams or goals. Prayer is necessary if church leaders and laymen are to understand and accomplish His will for the church.
Many of the historical biblical references mentioned in this book overlook that Israel was hindered by sin and rebellion. It was their idolatry, gross immorality, and disobedience that led to their captivity and exile. Similarly, the church is hindered by the unwillingness of those attending church to die to self, so that God could live through them. Theologically speaking, scripture is clear that “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” Ray Comfort quotes A.W. Tozer in his book titled, God Has a Wonderful Plan for Your Life: The Myth of the Modern Message as saying, “It is my opinion that tens of thousands of people, if not millions, have been brought into some kind of religious experience by accepting Christ, and they have not been saved.” The danger in motivating people to do religious activity is that many of them have never repented of their sins. Chapter seven of the book of Matthew describes people serving in the name of Christ only to hear at the Great White throne judgment, “I never knew you.”
The author is teaching us that unity is possible in the church. This idea of harmony and togetherness is the basis of the “Lord’s Prayer” in chapter seventeen of the book of John. When the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost, His prayer of common unity among believers became a real possibility. The Church was designed to be one body of Christ made up of different members, and all its followers sharing His life. This point is clearly brought out in the text, which is good, but the book falls short on addressing the issue of why most churches are not experiencing unity. Writing to the church in Corinth, the apostle Paul talked about church discipline. Satan’s efforts to deceive the church by mingling his children with God’s in some cases making it impossible for believers to discern the true from the false. Most leaders need to know that this method of attack is common and must be addressed.
Those interested in growing big churches with large crowds should read this book. Pragmatism has become the standard for success by many church growth specialists. However, God is interested in not the quantity of people attending, but the quality of the person’s heart. Those dealing with sins of immorality, homosexuality, witchcraft, hatred, sorcery, and the like will not be able to relate to this book. The sin of people attending the average church in America is hindering them from “Doing Church as a team.” Once true converts are made, then many of the strategies mentioned can be implemented in the local church. As a former church planter, I am aware of the importance of members operating in their spiritual giftedness. Unity in the body is the sign of a healthy and vibrant church. The body working together is evidence that every member understands his or her role. Yet, sickness of one part of the body affects the body as a whole. Therefore, it is important to make sure that all the members be made whole before they begin to operate within the body of Christ.
In conclusion, Doing Church as a Team is a biblical concept found in scripture. The idea of working together to reach and fulfill God’s will for the church is taught by Jesus and His disciples. Spiritual gifts are given to believers to be used for the building up of the body and this becomes a reality when the right people are serving in the right places. The principles mentioned by Pastor Wayne will assist any church in reaching its true potential.

Comfort, Ray. “God Has A Wonderful Plan for Your Life: The Myth of the Modern Message.” Bellflower: Living Water Publications, 2010.
Cordeiro, Wayne. Doing Church as a Team. Ventura: Regal Books, 2001.


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