I’m from Colorado, where they don’t give you a choice of whom to root for. You either root for the Denver Broncos, or accept the taunting, humiliation, and persecution that come with your chosen path. However, being a football fan, a student of leadership, and a minister, it occurs to me there are several illustrations that can be gleaned about our faith and our God from football.
Everyone needs a coach! Jesus coached his disciples, Paul coached Timothy, and the Great Commission encourages us to pass on our coaching to others. Every pastor and minister should have at least two mentors/coaches. These coaches should have a proven track record, and the authority to speak truth into your life. I once coached a football player who believed he was above and beyond all coaching. He had natural talent, but his attitude and lack of leadership eventually doomed the entire team. Supreme talent without direction is wasted talent. So don’t just have a few guys that check in with you once in a while, listen to the wisdom around you and adjust your behavior. The best athletes in the world still hire coaches. We need to be coachable too.
Fundamentals are essential! Vince Lombardi said that football was just two things: “blocking and tackling.” He meant that if your team can’t do those, it doesn’t matter what you can do. When Jesus summarized the commandments in Mark 12:30-31, he was saying “If you don’t love God with everything and love people, it doesn’t matter what religious tasks you accomplish.” John 13:34-35 carries a guarantee: the world will know we are Christians by our love for one another. It’s a matter of fundamentals.
Teamwork is everything! Coaching from the sideline, one of the best things to see in your opponent is disorganization. If your opponent is quarreling amongst themselves, or not prepared for the game at hand, beating them is much easier. Churches that specialize in quarreling have dry baptisteries. Christians—especially blogging Christians—who live to point out the faults in others segregate themselves from Kingdom blessings and expansion. 1 Corinthians 12 has a lot to say on this matter, but pay special attention to verses 25-27. The body of Christ needs to act more like a team.
Can you imagine the chaos of a team that has wide receivers catching with only one hand, a defense that tried to tackle by merely pushing people, and a quarterback who relied only on himself to perform so he never threw or handed off the football? (Dedicated football fans, insert joke here about your rivals or the Oakland Raiders, your choice). It would be a disaster. Our team has been entrusted with the life-altering task of representing Christ in a fallen world. We can’t afford disasters.