A Life Team is composed of those individuals who know all about you and can handle it all, just as you know and can handle everything about them. They aren’t coaches, as coaches are people you retain for your growth, not theirs. ... They are in it for the mutual growth process.

A Life Team is basically the highest and best set of friendships, at least in the way that Jesus described it. “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). These are friends who know your business, making you fully known and fully loved, with no secrets or hiding.

A Life Team is also a structure which embodies family. We are all born into, or raised in, a family or a family setting. God created family to develop and grow little people so they become larger people called adults. We usually call this family the family of origin.

We are all to give respect to and love our families of origin. Many of them have lots of good to them, which we are to be grateful for, and some amount of dysfunction. Unfortunately, some have more dysfunction than good. Either way, they deserve our kindness, even when we are learning to set limits, forgive and heal from the negatives.

However, the Bible teaches that God has created a second and superior family. It consists of those people who may not be biologically related to you or may not have raised you but during your adult years have loved, accepted, nurtured and developed you. This second family often serves to complete the work that was not done by a person’s family of origin:

  • Providing security, when there was little
  • Making attachment and vulnerability safe, when it was in short supply
  • Giving them structure and a sense of self-discipline, so that they don’t lose themselves in impulses and distraction
  • Helping them find their voice and boundaries, when they had learned to comply and be passive [...]
  • Showing them how to accept their negatives rather than hiding in entitlement and narcissism
  • Providing them with the ability to relate to others as adults
  • Giving them confidence to develop and express their God-given talents, rather than telling them to be someone they are not
  • Helping them to find their mission and vision for life, rather than leaving them alone to work it out

    Jesus validated the existence and importance of this second family. When someone told him that his mother and brothers were waiting to speak to him, he made a startling declaration. “‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ Pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother’” (Matt. 12:48–50).

    In essence, Jesus was affirming the second family as the more transcendent set of people. Those who do the will of God are that family.

    The church is certainly that family, as it was designed to do God’s will and fulfill his mission. It is the family of God, the family that will carry us into growth and health for the rest of our life on earth. And on a smaller scale, the Life Team is a microcosm of this family.

    Excerpt taken from People Fuel: Fill Your Tank for Life, Love, and Leadership, by Dr. John Townsend (Ph.D. ’84). Copyright © 2019 by John Townsend. Used by permission of Zondervan. zondervan.com.