Monday, March 28, 2011


Maybe it's March Madness, but I see a lot of analogies between church and sports, and between pastoring and coaching.

1. Game Plan. Winning teams/churches have a plan. You see teams win with a running game, or win with a passing game. It almost doesn't matter what the plan is. It is far more important that there is one. Do you have a strategy for achieving your mission?

2. Playbook. Winning coaches hand out a play book. Have you put on paper "here's what we're gonna do"?

3. Practice. Winning teams rehearse. What do you need to be rehearsing because it is that important? Greeting? The teaching? Small groups? Perfect practice makes perfect performance.

4. Huddles. In every sport you see interludes during the game where team members put their heads together. These moments are ideal for play calling and encouragement. Are huddles happening in your ministry?

5. White board. Many coaches use a white board, not just to draw up plays, but to list priorities prior to a game. Is it time to white board some points of focus?

6. Yelling. During a game, you can sometimes hear the coach yelling at his players. It's immediate feedback. Have you been good about giving your leaders immediate feedback (perhaps in a soft tone of voice)?

7. Benching. When players mess up frequently (do more harm than good), they are removed from the game. When was the last time you benched someone?

8. Recruiting. Great coaches are always on the lookout for talent. Who was the last winner you recruited to your team?

9. Clear Goals. Teams often have clearly identified goals in mind - to make the playoffs, the win the championship, etc. What is your immediate goal?

10. Coaches. Along with the head coach, there are often assistant coaches who specialize in various aspects of the game. Are you identifying "faithful men" who will be able to teach others also?

11. Captains. On every team there are standout, experienced players. Have you identified them in your ministry?

12. Video. Following the game, the team may get together to review how things went. Some coaches spend hours reviewing film. What is your analysis process and how often does it happen?

13. Responsibility. On great teams, everyone feels responsible for their part - they don't leave it up to a couple stars to make all the plays. What is your level of involvement?

14. High Fives. Winning teams are happy teams, or maybe it's the other way around! How's morale?

15. Roles. Roles are important on a great team. (Seems like Paul might have mentioned this in 1 Corinthians 12.) Have you defined how everyone's contribution goes together?

16. Win. Coaches get all the "players" to get involved and let them know that they are contributing to "the win." What is a "win" in your context?

17. Celebration. As victories are won, winning teams take time to celebrate. Sometimes they will even say for how long ("We're going to enjoy this win today, but tomorrow we're going to be back practicing getting ready for our next opponent."). Are you celebrating along the way?

Monday, March 21, 2011


Ministry is stressful. Some of the anxiety is good, and some bad. Only God can reveal whether the anxiety is coming from a place of dependence or independence. We see both types of anxiety in scripture.

There was good anxiety for Peter when he was being asked to get out of the boat.

There was bad anxiety for Jonah as he was getting on a boat.

There was good anxiety for Abraham when he was offering his son.

There was bad anxiety for Abraham when he was lying and saying his wife was his sister.

There was good anxiety for Hosea when he was marrying a prostitute.

There was bad anxiety for Judas when he was selling Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

Times of anxiety are a test for a leader. A critical aspect to figure out is the origin of the anxiety. Is it arising because you are following God (walking by faith), or because you are going your own way?