Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wrong Focus.....

On the plane ride home from Arkansas this week, I was looking in Southwest Airline's magazine and saw an interesting one page article. 

The headline read, "During an NFL game, the ball is in play less than 11 minutes".

The article went on to explain that the average broadcast lasts 185 minutes.  Of that time, the players spend 75 minutes in huddles or milling around the line of scrimmage.  Broadcasters dedicate 17 minutes of airtime to replays.  Cutaway shots to refs and barrel-bellied coaches total 13 minutes...and up to 60 minutes go to commercials.  Cheerleaders get about 3 sec.

It made me wonder about how we do church....we spend a lot of time, talking about God, planning, replaying what we've done and even doing commercials for what's coming up.....but how much time is the ball really IN PLAY?

I've always thought a good church model would be where you "Talk 1, Walk 1".  One Sunday is dedicated to preaching and corporate worship, the next Sunday dedicated to serving and loving the community (putting the ball in play).  The Church has to stop standing on the sidelines watching replays and get out on the field and play....practice/talk/huddles are only designed to precede action, not precede more planning.

Of course one could consider the gathering of believers on Sundays part of 'putting the ball in play.'  I totally agree.  Huddles and practice help develop teamwork and community among the players...but ultimately, a football team has a goal and they move  down the field.  The practice/huddle is not the ultimate goal....and I would offer, neither is the corporate worship meeting. 

Jesus wants more than 11 minutes of us in our game of life.  He wants a constant yielding of everything we have and are.  Continual worship and praise lived out each waking moment.  It's a hard thing to do, but a goal worth striving for...the convicting thing for me to look at is whether or not I am leading people to the "huddle" or to "put the ball in play?"


  1. Great metaphor! So, let's unpack the idea of putting the ball into play...what do you think that means? Serving others? Spending time with God? Making disciples? All of the above? In football the "goal" (pardon the pun) is clear. What's our goal?

  2. I think "ball in play" looks different for different people. This is more of self-measuring statement of discipleship. ie. "Do you have your ball in play or are you on the sidelines?"

    For some, they are on the sidelines if they are not overseas doing missions. For some, the ball in play looks like serving in Children's ministry in a church.

    The important thing for us, as pastors/leaders (assistant coaches) is to constantly ask the question as we look into the eyes of the sheep..."are you in the game?"