One of the analogies I like to think of in the pastor/laity context is coach/player. I think it brings out the aspect that Christians should not defer to the pastors on the big plays, and that the “game” doesn’t happen inside the church, that’s just the huddle. The world outside the four walls of the church is where faith is really applied and all the discipleship begins to show up in real-life circumstances.
I’m not an athlete and can’t even fool people into thinking that I played sports in high school or anything, but I am an avid fan of basketball. I’m such a big fan, I don’t even care who’s playing, I don’t care who wins, I don’t care that I suck at it. I just love to play. But I watch and play as one who’s never been coached. And I know that coaching matters, knowledge makes a difference, knowing what to look for matters – particularly if, as in my case, I can’t simply beat someone with sheer athleticism.
I found this article very interesting, which discusses “what makes a player coachable?” And I thought that metaphor worked somewhat when applied to the church context, not completely, but it certainly brings up responsibilities of coach and player fairly. Here’s an extended quote first for the athlete/player:
If a player doesn’t learn to listen, then he will have to learn to like a seat on the bench. More opportunities come to those who are willing to be taught.
One of the things that has always amazed me as a basketball player is how much time some players spend wishing the coach would change the way he did things—wishing that the coach would change the offense, wishing that the coach would change the defense, wishing the coach would change who he plays.
Those players need to take all that energy and think about what they can change within themselves. A potential All-American doesn’t worry about the things he can’t control. He just deals with the things he can control. As a player, one thing he can control is where he is going to expend his energy.
And then for the coach:
Some coaches are a lot easier to hate than to love. Despising a coach at times is okay. Keep in mind that an unlikable coach might be the key to future athletic success. It is not pleasant to be yelled at for having made a mistake but it is the coach’s job to push the player.
A player won’t generally have positive feelings toward a coach who at times is critical of him, but his feelings may change over time. A coach has to be a little crazy, even mean at times. He may have to yell and rant and rave in order to get a player to perform at his best.
And finally, a good quote from a historic coach:
Pat Summitt, the very successful coach of the women’s basketball team at the University of Tennessee, said: “Accountability is essential to personal growth, as well as team growth. How can you improve if you’re never wrong? If you don’t admit a mistake and take responsibility for it, you’re bound to make the same one again.”
What do you think? Pastor as coach? And why/why not?
And on another note, the article as a whole, made me wonder if I am a good player and coach (not literally, figuratively). Am I coachable? Do I push others to be better? Hmmm…