It was about 11:30 a.m., May 29, 1953. Nearly six-miles above sea level, in the remote reaches of Nepal, two men had done what no human beings had done before. They had climbed to the summit of Mt. Everest, at 29,028 feet the highest mountain peak in the world! Sir Edmund Hillary, from New Zealand, and Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa tribesman, had made history, and they had done it as a team. Norgay described what happened when the two men reached the top of the world's highest mountain: "What we did first was what all climbers do when they reach the top of their mountain. We shook hands. But this was not enough for Mt. Everest. I waved my arms in the air and threw them around Hillary, and we thumped each other on the back until, even with the oxygen systems; we were almost breathless." Neither man wanted to claim credit for having been the first to set foot on the summit, and for some time both refused to say. It had been a team effort. Tied to each other by a 30-foot rope, they literally had to rely on each other for their lives as they struggled up steep inclines, over icy-slick glaciers, up slippery gaps between walls of rock and ice and through bitter cold and thin air. They helped each other achieve what up until that time was history's greatest mountaineering feat. Hillary described Norgay in terms one would use to refer to a close friend and ally. Norgay was "always willing to do his share, and more than his share if necessary," said Hillary. Norgay "never let you down." Strong words, when you consider that a false step could have sent both men plunging thousands of feet downward into an icy doom, or started an avalanche that would have buried both forever! Norgay commented: "When two men are on the same rope they are together, and that is all there is to it. I was not thinking of 'first' and 'second.' I did not say to myself: 'There is a golden apple up there. I will push Hillary aside and run for it.' We went on slowly, steadily. And then we were there. Hillary stepped up first. And I stepped up after him. We were comrades in life and death." This is the story of two people, bound together not just by rope but by a common purpose, a great goal, expressing unselfishness, consideration for each other, enthusiasm, willingness to help and sacrifice, enduring to the end. They worked together and achieved ultimate success in the truest sense of the word team. One of the most important lessons we in God's Church need to learn is the need for teamwork, as this example illustrates. In the world of athletics, even the best players can't win unless the entire team pulls together in perfect harmony and total cooperation. This is why Pastor General Herbert W. Armstrong, in his personal letters, always refers to us as members and co-workers. The apostle Paul also taught the need for teamwork by saying that the Church is one Body although composed of many members. Each of God's begotten, truly converted members has his or her specific function in the Church, just as each part of a human body has its functions. "But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you'; nor again the head to the feet, 'I have no need of you.'" (I Corinthians 12:18-21, Revised Authorized Version). The Church of God is like a family team or a body. Every member is vital to the success of the team. Perhaps it appears that those who help through prayers, tithes, offerings and letters of encouragement are needless when compared to those who are preaching or writing. Not true! The work of God cannot function without every necessary part any more than a human body can. The Gospel of the Kingdom of God by way of the World Tomorrow program and the Plain Truth and Good News magazines would not be encircling the globe today if it were not for the constant prayers and faithful, diligent tithes and offerings of God's people. "No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary" (verse 22). We must never underestimate the value of each member of God's family team. Satan knows that one of the easiest methods of breaking up and destroying teamwork in the Church of God is to cause contention, strife, division and disagreement. Rivalries, quarrels and disputes are common human tendencies. That is why each of us must be on guard against our human nature. We need to keep God's armor in constant use and good working order. See Ephesians 6:12-18. We must work hard to preserve harmony and teamwork in the spirit of godly love. Are you a good team member of the Church of God? Whether in the home, at Church services or on the job, you and I have an obligation to God to be the best team members. Here are some ways in which teamwork can best be developed: • Know what is to be achieved and completed by the team. This means we must daily study God's Word and study the work's publications to keep informed of the game plan. Learn to listen closely when God's ministers speak. Remember: When the mouth is open, the ears are closed. Poor communication is usually the root of all people problems. Talk about God's plan, His laws and how they apply to us. Be willing to inform other team members of the team's goals if those members are in the dark. Encourage each other. • Always keep your eyes on the big goal. Goals are the internalized drives that make all of us go. Our goal is qualifying for the Kingdom of God. The first step in setting your goals is to take a long look at the whole you. Perform an X-ray scan on your whole self. Look at your image, goals and motivations. Are they in line with God's team? Take time to write down your spiritual and personal goals in time sequence. List what must be done to achieve them. Then break the list down even further by setting goals for overcoming spiritual and physical problems: family, attitude, education. Work on your goals every day — actively. • Respect your team members. We must be willing to trust the skill and talent of other team members and to become interdependent, forsaking any unwillingness we may have to do so. With your example, inspire other team members to work toward our goal. Encourage cooperation with others. Be willing to go to bat for your spiritual brothers and sisters in times of need. Learn to recognize weaknesses and strengths in yourself and others. Turn every situation into a learning experience. • Share the glory and success with others on the team. We make a poor team member if we try to cop all the glory for the ideas that work, and backpedal on the team's failures. A good team player shares the glory and rewards. Think and act like a winner, work at it, help others be winners. We are a winning team God's team — and we're almost to the top of the mountain. We can make it if we pull together as a team.