Coach Dave Daubenmire
February 10, 2011
Boy, did last week’s commentary ever strike a nerve. My inbox was stuffed with “atta baby’s” from those who have had it up to their eye balls with the Blind Guides standing in America’s pulpits.
Usually when I write one of those scathing indictments of the pastors I get a bevy of emails from the loyal wives of the pastors bravely sticking up for their weak husbands. They love to tell me what a “good man” their husband is, and how “demanding” the job of being a pastor really is. I am often scolded that I “wouldn’t be talking that way” if I ever had to please my own flock and realize what an impossible task that was.
“You oughta try coaching,” I love to tell them. Trying to please your team is the fastest way to get one’s butt fired. The burden of leadership is a heavy one, and most great leaders are not, and never will be, “people pleasers.”
At the end of the day, no one gives a hoot in hell whether or not you made folks happy. The legacy of leadership lives in the lives of those whom you have impacted. Philosophy is important, but it is results that matter. Or as Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis famously said, “Just Win, Baby.”
That is the life of a Coach. Just Win, Baby.
There are no secrets in football. Vince Lombardi gave birth to the Green Bay Packers greatness.
Although it has been 44 years since Lombardi’s 1967 Super Bowl victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, his name is forever etched in the frozen tundra of Lambeau field.
And what was Lombardi’s message? “Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”
Most pastors would do well to pattern their ministries after the words of Coach Lombardi.
The apostle Paul put it another way. “For the body is not one member, but many.”
Allow me to explain.
Although my ego would not be so inflated as to mention my name in the same breath as Vince Lombardi, I have had a modicum of success as a high school football coach. Certainly there is a vast difference between high school football and the NFL, but the principles of coaching are the same. In both venues, coaching is dealing with people. So is pastoring.
level offers its own unique challenges. I have no idea what it would
be like to control the actions of a 26 year old millionaire, a challenge
most professional coaches must learn to deal with.
But, at the same time, I wonder if Vince Lombardi would be very adept at handling a hormone-infused 16 year old high school quarterback who has fallen in love for the first time.
Even though both positions have their unique challenges, they share a common goal…winning. A good coach recognizes the individual talents of his players, molds them into a cohesive unit, and positions the players in such a way that will gain the maxim impact for the team.
Some players play a more high-profile position, and by doing so, seem to be the most important players on the team. But every good coach, and every good team, understands that each player plays a role and that no job on the team is more important than another.
One body…many members.
But pastors don’t seem to understand it. Too many think that they are the star, the go-to guy, the super-star quarterback, and that the success of the team is directly related to how well THEY play. But they have it backwards.
A good coach understands that the key to success is not how well HE plays, but rather, how well he can get others to play.
Let me put it in coaching terms.
In my nearly three decades of coaching football teams I personally have never intercepted a pass, made a tackle, caused a fumble, kicked a field goal, sacked the quarterback, thrown a pass, caught a pass, made an interception, or scored a touchdown. But I have had a great deal of success in the coaching profession because I have been able to put others in the position to do so.
Hey Pastor. If you really want to see the Kingdom of God expanded you are going to have to stop being such a ball hog. Pass the ball, Pastor. Your pews are filled with potential play-makers, but you won’t put them in the game…enough already of the one-man teams. God doesn’t hand out any Heisman trophies…only crowns of glory. You are depriving your flock of the honor of serving the Lord with the gifts they have been given.
From 2000 to 2007 I walked away from coaching football because I felt that I had been called to coach “God’s team.” During that time I would often be asked “What do you miss most about coaching?”
“I miss the scoreboard. All I had to do was look at the scoreboard. It was brutal, and harsh, but it was a great measuring stick to show me at anytime during the game just how it was that my team was doing.”
Tell me Pastor, what is YOUR scoreboard?
Unfortunately, for most, the scoreboard is butts and bucks, programs and popularity, as measured by the numbers of tapes, books, and “ministry products” sold.
Your pews are filled with “fans” who cheer you on as you perform your magnificent open field run….fans who tell their friends what a gifted “quarterback” you are…fans who appreciate the deftness with which you navigate Christianity.
Unfortunately, they have been convinced that they are to play no active role on the team. Their job is to cheer you on, pay for your equipment, and purchase goodies from the concession stand.
In fact, they know that if somehow they could get some of their friends to come to the arena and watch you play they too could become cheerleaders and join in the pom pom shaking.
The church is a body and your job is to train it. Most on your “team” aren’t even aware of the Full Armor of God, let alone their need to wear it.
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” Eph 4
Take a good look in the bleachers, Pastor. Can you even begin to imagine how effective the team could be if you were able to train, equip, and mobilize those pom pom wavers into actually doing the work of the ministry in their own lives?
“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. Rev 3:12
Are you training your flock to overcome?
“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” Rev 3:21
Are you equipping them to score victories in the game of life?
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I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 2 Tim. 4:7-8
Christianity is a contact sport, not a spectator sport. Are you teaching them to win a fight…or watch a fight?
No wonder the field is strewn with so many injured Christians. What would the score be if we measured success by the number of players who quit the team?
So, Pastor, what’s the score?
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