Is your NCAA bracket as messed up as mine? We always have a little family competition in filling out brackets to guess the winners of the various teams in the NCAA tournament. This year, I have done so badly that I am in last place in our family competition!

In trying to understand all of the upsets in this year's tournament, I heard one analyst explain it this way: "team wins over talent." He was referring to the mid-major schools with experienced players who won "upset" victories over major conference teams which have several McDonald's Americans who are "one and done" players who only stay in college a year or two before going into the NBA. Some of those younger players are clearly more talented, but they lost to older teams of veterans players who knew how to play with better teamwork. That may not be the only explanation for my poor predictions in the NCAA tourney, but it is an explanation which might apply well to our discipleship.

Jesus seems to have called his disciples in a one-on-one invitation, but he called them to join his team of disciples. He also sent them out to announce the Kingdom of God in teams of two. The early church followed the example of Jesus, and they sent the apostles out in pairs or teams.

What is it about "teamwork" that impacts our discipleship? Answer: Christian community helps us to overcome our individual weaknesses. Having a partner or a team in ministry provides us with the support and accountability that we need to be faithful. Ministry can be done alone, but individualized ministry is usually not done well over the long-run. There is wisdom in an African proverb which says, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

This lesson about teamwork is too late to help my NCAA bracket, but it is not too late to help my discipleship. How about you? Are you just a "talent" or are you a part of a "team" in your ministry?

May this season of Lent remind us of the teamwork of Jesus and his disciples, and may it inspire us to do ministry together.