What Dolphins Have in Common with the Church

It’s a beautiful thing to see what happens when people work as a team. 

A well-executed series of plays that leads to a touchdown. An orchestra of musicians playing the same composition on different instruments. A platoon of soldiers walking in precision rank and file. 

The nature world displays similar examples of teamwork and community. A herd of elephants circles to defend its young against predators. A colony of ants scouts for food, nurtures their larva, and protects their home. Did you know dolphins also work together to find and capture food? 

In the Everglades, after a pod of dolphins identifies a school of fish using echolocation, they form a circle around their prey. Knowing that fish out of the water are easier to catch, one dolphin breaks off from the circle and executes a surprise maneuver. Beating its tail hard against the water, it circles the ring of dolphins. 

The up and down motion of its tail stirs up silt on the bottom of the ocean, forming a cloudy ring. The fish, startled and confused by the murky water, panic. They leap from the water, right into the hungry mouths of the dolphins. 

 Within a few minutes, the pod of dolphins swims off with their tummies full of fresh fish. 

Even more graceful than sleek dolphins fishing together is the picture of community Paul paints in 1 Corinthians 12. 

 “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. 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” (v. 12-13). 

Some are evangelists, Paul says, sharing the good news with the world. Others are pastors, teachers, and preachers. Others give, serve, or pray. 

Whatever our gift, he encourages us to use it in tandem with other members of the church, sharing the good news, and advancing the kingdom. When we collaborate, we become God’s hands and feet in the world. Or, in the case of our dolphin friends, the fins and tails. Working together ensures everyone’s needs are met and the world witnesses a beautiful testimony of God’s people doing life together. 

When the world looks at your church, what does it see? Lone wolves drawing boundaries around their territories? Or clever dolphins joining forces for the greater good? 

What's your part in the family?


If you’re reading by email, CLICK HERE to watch a 1-minute video that captures this amazing dolphin technique.

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  1. Great post. Makes me want to look at my church and the role I play in it; hopefully supporting the others.

    1. Thank you, J.D. I'm confident you are a blessing to your church and the body of Christ at large. Shine on!


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