The Avengers (Teamwork)
Main Point: If we want to be a force for God’s Kingdom on Earth, we must work together as a team.
The Movie Clip:
The Avengers, one of 2012’s biggest films, assembles Marvel’s most beloved gang of superheroes against a threat from another world. Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) must band together in order to protect Earth from Loki, Thor’s adopted brother from Asgard, who has intentions of conquering our planet using the infinite power of the Tesseract. Unless The Avengers can put aside their pride and learn to work together, the mighty Loki will conquer Earth and subject it to his tyrannical rule.
Directed by Joss Whedon, the movie was clean, free of sexual innuendo, imitatible behavior, and gratuitous language. It was rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-if violence and action throughout, and a mild drug reference.
Introducing the Clip:
There were so many great scenes in The Avengers, and some of them, like this one, actually provide us with a powerful lesson about our own lives. In this clip, you’re going to see what happened when all of the Avengers come together for the first time on board the flying boat. They’re discussing the best way to defeat the powerful Loki and prevent him from taking over Earth, but each of them have a different idea about what would work best. Take a look at what happens to the mighty team – and how they treat each other – as the conversation wears on.
BEGIN CLIP AT 1 HOUR 07 MINUTES AND 14 SECONDS
This clip is over 5 minutes long, and there’s a lot of dialogue, so a “script” won’t be provided. Instead, what follows is a synopsis. Also, this clip uses the word “damn” one time.
This scene begins as Nick Fury walks in and asks, “What are you doing Mr. Stark?” A conversation ensues about S.H.I.E.L.D.’s production of weapons. Nobody seems to like that, and trust is clearly broken. But on top of the disagreement, the Avengers begin to insult and accuse one another.
Meanwhile, Loki’s henchmen approach the floating boat on a stolen aircraft. Hawkeye – under the spell of Loki – shoots an explosive arrow at the ship. They are preparing to board the ship, rescue Loki, and re-steal the spectrometer they originally stole from scientists in Germany.
The clip returns to the discussion being had by the Avengers and Nick Fury. They’ve gone from talking about a game plan to purely insulting one another. The dialogue clearly shows that the Avengers are not functioning as a team, and in fact, want to fight each other.
The clip ends as Hawkeye detonates his explosive arrow, throwing the superheroes into action.
END CLIP AT 1 HOUR 12 MINUTES AND 47 SECONDS
That clip was probably the lowest point in the movie. Yes, the bad guys were winning. Yes, the bad guys were just about to strike again. But the worst part is, the good guys weren’t even functioning as a team! Further, they quit arguing about a strategy just so they could insult each other. In other words, they went from disagreeing with each other to slandering one another. You heard Dr. Banner, aka The Hulk, say two different times that they weren’t acting as a team. We, our group, are in a similar situation as The Avengers: we have an enemy to overcome, and unless we work together, we’ll fail, resulting in serious consequences. Let’s take a look at an old story in the Bible to see if we can learn a powerful lesson about teamwork in God’s Name.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRLCE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and our favorite Avenger…and NO, it cannot be a tie. You have to pick ONE!
- ASK A FEW: Can you remember some of the unkind things that the Avengers said to each other?
- ASK A FEW: The Hulk (aka, Dr. Banner) admits that they aren’t a team. Instead, he says they are a chemical mixture that makes chaos. Why do you think he said that?
- ASK A FEW: If you could describe each Avenger (Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and Black Widow) in one word, what would it be?
- ASK A FEW: In your opinion, why did the Avengers disagree with one another so sharply?
- ASK A FEW: What would you have said or done to help them unite?
- ASK A FEW: Do you see or hear – or take part in – these kinds of conversations in our youth ministry?
Read the following passage:
Context: Jonathan was King Saul’s son. The Israelites were about to make war with the Philistines. King Saul and the rest of God’s people were heavily outnumbered on the eve of the battle, so Jonathan, the prince, formed a game plan….
1 Samuel 14:1-15 (NIV)
One day Jonathan son of Saul said to the young man bearing his armor, “Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. 2 Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron. With him were about six hundred men, 3 among whom was Ahijah, who was wearing an ephod. He was a son of Ichabod’s brother Ahitub son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the LORD’s priest in Shiloh. No one was aware that Jonathan had left. 4 On each side of the pass that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine outpost was a cliff; one was called Bozez, and the other Seneh. 5 One cliff stood to the north toward Micmash, the other to the south toward Geba. 6 Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.” 7 “Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.” 8 Jonathan said, “Come, then; we will cross over toward the men and let them see us. 9 If they say to us, ‘Wait there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are and not go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the LORD has given them into our hands.” 11 So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. “Look!” said the Philistines. “The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in.” 12 The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, “Come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson.” So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Climb up after me; the LORD has given them into the hand of Israel.” 13 Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer followed and killed behind him. 14 In that first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre. 15 Then panic struck the whole army– those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties– and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God.
It wasn’t surprising to many people that the Avengers had difficulty getting along. I mean, come on, they all had their own movies to start with, and now, they were expected to share one movie! Plus, EVERY movie that features a team or a teamwork concept ALWAYS shows the team members struggling to work together. But The Avengers showed that in a really powerful way.
The thing that strikes me each time I watch The Avengers is this: no matter how powerful each of the superheroes were alone, they could not defeat Loki unless they worked together. In other words, not even their superhero abilities were as important as their teamwork.
The same is true for us. No matter how talented some of us may be, we still need each other to function the way God wants us to. None of us are here by accident. I mean it! The Bible teaches us in several places that God has put us together, on purpose, and wants us to work together. Here is just one example from 1 Corinthians 12:12-27:
The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body– whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free– and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
There is so much packed into that passage, but the bottom line is simple: we need each other.
So, we have a choice. We can work together as a team, and overcome our enemy, the Devil. Or we can speak ill of each other, be jealous of one another, and refuse to forgive people’s sins, and be defeated.
I think it’s a simple choice. We need to work together. Let’s pray about that now, and let God speak to us, telling us how He wants us to do that.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.