Monday, June 27, 2011

How "Just Do It" is Misguided

Last week, I was in a conversation about implementing some new ideas in a church. A leader stated, "Well, let's just do it and figure it out along the way." And while on the job training is always going to happen, I realized in that moment just how much we do this in the church.

I want to return to the baseball theme that I have been using as an analogy over the last couple of months. The equivalent in baseball would be the coaches and players showing up on opening day and not doing any preparation beforehand. No coaches meetings. Now Spring Training.

The assumption is what really matters is what happens each night during the game. I'd like to suggest that most of the success on the field of baseball has more to do with what happens behind the scenes than what happens during the games. I'm not just talking about practicing either. I'm talking about the coaches' meetings, the front office meetings, and the position player meetings. I'm referring to watching film, taking notes and studying the game. I'm want to point out how the best teams, the ones that win year after year, are not necessarily the ones that have all of the best players. Teams that consistently win have developed an underground culture that focuses on practices that results in excellent performance.

Superstars alone don't win championships. They might make the highlight real, but teams are shaped by unseen practices that make average players perform at a higher level.

I feel like I have been making this point a lot in my recent posts. But as I work with churches, I realize just how much this point needs to be repeated. It seems to me that the modern expression of the church is so concerned with what is visible that we fail to do the underground work needed to make the visible line up with the Kingdom. We are focused on things like growth, development of new leaders, impact up the community, doing something "radical." But what about things like character, life led by the Holy Spirit, walking in peace, mutual submission in community, sacrificing out lives for the sake of others.

Successful baseball seasons are built upon tons of small underground actions done over and over. No team "just does it." They prepare. They think. They learn. They do their homework. Where are we focusing this week in our churches?

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