Monday, January 20, 2014

quarterbacks and preachers

First off, let me give a shout out to Martin Luther King's birthday. His "I have a dream" speech remains one of the best discourses in human history outside the Bible. Still, he was promoting what Jesus came for - freedom. Praying that the church continues to be a place of freedom from all slavery, but mostly the slavery of sin that crosses all racial barriers. Now to football. I am a fan. I like sport and I like all the conversation and debate that goes with it. My wife does not. She's already tired of all the hype, debate, opinion, and argument from all the voices who will weigh in on the big game coming up in two weeks. I'll listen to much of it because it entertains me...but to my point. I have been particularly interested in how much attention quarterbacks get when it comes to winning games in the playoffs...I see some parallels between this high profile job and the high profile role of a preacher. Below are some observations. 1. Both the quarterbacks and preachers get way too much credit. When a football team wins, the quarterback is credited with the win, even though he may not have been the biggest contributor to the outcome and certainly wasn't the only contributor. Now, I must address the reality that there is no real tangible way to measure a "win" for a church. Unfortunately, our culture usually thinks of it in non-spiritual terms like attendance, offerings, and buildings - it's harder to define a "win" spiritually and since all churches are God's, winning is assured. But to my point, when things are good at a church, the preacher often gets the credit - this even though the Holy Spirit empowers it all, the staff and volunteers live out their callings and passions to make it all happen, and the living Body of Christ is designed for growth. In the Old Testament, God often helped his people during the reign of a lousy king, I suspect He still does the same thing with his church. Ultimately, people should never give too much credit to the preacher. The pastor himself certainly shouldn't buy the hype. He simply is not the reason churches grow. 2. Both the quarterbacks and preachers get way too much blame. On the other hand, when a team loses a football game, the quarterback often gets blamed for one or two bad plays. But considering there are 11 men each performing a number of functions on about 100 plays a game - there are thousands of opportunities for failure...and many of them go unnoticed. In the same way, when a church is not going well, the criticism mounts for the preacher and he often ends up losing his job. The truth is, there are hundreds of people with hundreds of conversations and hundreds of ministries, and hundreds of actions each week. If a church is not bearing good fruit, there are many root systems to consider. Jesus wasn't a hit in Nazareth, but not because he wasn't a great spiritual leader. 3. Both quarterback and preacher can reach their full potential without "winning it all". There is a crazy idea out there that a quarterback is no good unless he wins a championship (or several if you're a legend). In the same way, a pastor is often not seen as effective unless his church is in a continual numeric growth pattern, he is speaking at several national events, or he is writing spiritually ground-breaking best sellers. The truth is that God has gifted, placed, and used millions (perhaps billions) of preachers in history to change the world. They may not all make the headlines, but they are all effective as they are empowered by the Holy Spirit. There are great quarterbacks and great preachers, but winning and losing is about the team and the Body of Christ, the church is about all of the parts. Something to remember in a culture of hype.

1 comment:

Sandy said...

Amen!! And great analogy!