Coach or Athlete; Clergy or Laity
At the Olympics, when the flags are raised, who is standing on the podium getting the medals? The athletes; not their coaches! The athletes have to perform under enormous pressure. What they do provides the final results. The preparation for what they do is the job of the coach. An athlete is only as good as his coach. Gabby Douglas, the London All-Around Gold Medalist, moved across country for two years just to be trained by a certain coach to prepare her to become not only an Olympian, but a Champion.
My daughter had the honor of becoming a Division I gymnastics and earning a full ride to North Carolina State University where she became their All-around participant for four years. Looking back, what got her there was not only her ability and determination, but the coaching she received. Without that, she would not have been prepared for what she had to accomplish.
In the church world, the pastors are like the coaches. The laity or parishioner’s personal Christian growth often is influenced by the leadership of the church they attend: good teaching, personal encouragement, prayer support, Christian character development, etc. Poor leadership hampers their development. As we have seen in my last blog, a church is as healthy as its investment in those it is developing.
Who is on the platform for all to see when attending a church service? Who does the church put on display to convey its story or celebrate its victories: it’s coaches or its participants? Its coaches, its pastors! Most Christians do not know how to evangelize, how to tell their personal story of their personal relationship with Jesus Christ, often because their church has not even give them the opportunity to tell it to their own family of God. There are healings in churches, but usually the person who is healed is not afforded the opportunity to verbally share their story with their entire church family. When there are victories in people’s lives through their faith in Jesus, they are not afforded the opportunity to share it. I have been a Christian for over 50 years and a church attendee for even longer, but out of the thousands of church services I have attended, very few have had laity, the parishioners, the average Christian church attendee share their own personal stories, or to teach alias preach, or lead prayer. Formal church services have allowed laity to read prepared liturgy but not share original thoughts, writings, or stories.
Don’t get me wrong, their pastor has been very instrumental in their Christian birth, development and growth, but we have show cased the pastor, the coach during public “celebrations” of the local church family’s services rather than the average believer. If the coaches, the pastors, are truly preparing, equipping, their sheep, the common everyday believers for the work of service, then they need to release them to do what they have been prepared to do. Allow “church services” to be generated around what the Lord is doing among his people whom leadership prepared. Let them tell their stories, share their healings, and pray for others.
As Christians, our gold medal is Jesus Christ. Everyone who receives Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord receives the gold medal of a personal relationship with Him for eternity. There are no second or third places. If we are to place anything on the awards podium it should not be the coach nor athlete, the pastor nor parishioner, but our gold medal, Jesus Christ for all to see. Instead of a national anthem being played, worship by the people of God should be our anthem. Church let’s show case our relationships with Jesus Christ during our open worship sessions for all the world to see!