Church and Football. Besides both being traditionally held on Sunday, do they have any other similarities? Read on…
For those that don’t like football, or have been living under a rock, you may not be as fully versed with the Saga of Tim Tebow. One of the greatest college football quarterbacks ever, Tim Tebow is also a strong Christian, homeschooled until college, youngest child of a missionary family, whose mother was encouraged to abort him due to a difficult pregnancy with him. Suffice to say, he lived, and lives quite abundantly. Lots of trophies and accolades for this one before he even left college. But there were those that said he would never make it in the NFL, due to some hard-to-understand throwing mechanics or whatever. (Some people think it’s because he’s vocal about his Christian beliefs. I am one.) Anyway, the guy has naysayers. In the league and the media. So, when I saw this story by Peter King in Sports Illustrated online (yes, I’m that much of a pigskin junkie), it caught my eye because the coach for the Denver Broncos, where Tim is a QB, encapsulated in words an idea that I have been saying about the church for months!
Peter King writes,
“We media geniuses have had our fun in the last few weeks. Tebow will never make it. Tebow can’t transition to the NFL. Tebow’s game is a college game. The Broncos are playing the guy just to show the fans it can’t work, and then they’ll move on to a real quarterback.
‘After a while,’ coach John Fox said from the Broncos locker room Sunday, ‘you come to the realization that Ernie Els’ golf swing is different than Lee Trevino’s, but it’s what they’re comfortable with, they both work, and they both win…[blah blah confusing football stuff blah blah]…. We just figured let’s try to do what Tim’s comfortable with. It’s just coaching. Doesn’t matter if you coach JV, high school, college or the pros — when you’ve got different kids, you need to do different things. Figure what your players can do, and adjust to them.” (Since starting at QB, Tim has led his team to victory in 3 of 4 games. Even non-stats people like me will tell you that’s pretty good.)
In the last few months, I’ve had my thinking about serving and ministering in the church pretty much turned on its head. The church is weak. Probably because we’re holding on to the vestiges of a traditional mindset where you look at the list of ministries and just start searching for volunteers. Kind of like Denver plugging in their run-talented quarterback into an offensive plan that requires a lot of throwing. If the guy can run. Let him run!
Speaking of running, I have a body. Do you? Okay, granted, if my pencil falls on the floor, and I’m too lazy to pick it up and I don’t have socks on, I’ll use my toes to grab it. (Don’t you judge me!) But, I don’t use my toes to hold my dinner utensils. I know what my toes’ designed purpose is…running into things and tripping over themselves. Sometimes they actually do better at grabbing pencils than keeping me upright, but most of the time they do a great job of balance and propelling. You certainly won’t see me walking on my hands. They’re for holding, and touching, and typing, and writing.
If the church is to thrive (apart for persecution), it will need to know the individuals and their spiritual gifts. Instead of learning love languages, we should be finding out how the Spirit has gifted the people to serve the Lord. This issue is kind of personal for me, because I don’t remember the last time I was in a study where we studied spiritual gifts to the extent that I could tell what mine was. I’ve always just assumed it was sarcasm.
The church seems more like a bureaucracy. It’s not like it’s a body any more. We don’t equip our people; we just sign them up.
We don’t equip our people;
we just sign them up.
Know their spiritual gift, and then find what they love to do, what their ability is. And yes, even their love language. (Mine seems to be being the center of attention.)
“What’s your spiritual gift? Administration? Then why are you a door greeter? You should be helping coordinate small groups! Or helping plan a block party for the church’s street so we can get to know the neighbors.”
“Your gift is mercy? Have you heard that we have a shut-in ministry? Did you want to bring meals to those in our community that lost their job. Do you have any ideas how to use that that we can help you with.”
Each body of believers is different, and there are probably many churches (like mine), that seek to see how God wants to use a person and then letting them go.
John Fox said it well, “Figure out what your players can do, and adjust to them.”
And we all know that what happens on Sunday morning in the building with the steeple is of far greater importance than what happens on Sunday afternoon at the 10 yard line.
At least, that’s my opinion. I’m pretty opinionated, you know. Good thing that’s a fruit of the Spirit. Right?