While I understand that this letter goes out to friends around the country, please allow me to express a little excitement for the World Series Champions, my hometown Kansas City Royals. Allow me share with you the three greatest lessons I personally learned from watching the World Champion Royals in 2015.
First, stop writing the end of the story before the end of the story is written. The Royals are known for their ‘never say die’ attitude, playing until the final out. This was never more true than game than Game 4 of the ALDS when the Royals trained the Houston Astros 6-2 entering the eighth inning. The Governor of Texas had already sent out his congratulatory tweet when the Royals erupted for seven runs over the final two innings to extend the series to a decisive Game 5 – where the Royals crushed the Astros 7-2.
All too often, when working with pastors, I may begin to think, “I know how this is going to end. I have seen this exact same situation a hundred times”. And yet, the Holy Spirit isn’t following my script! Over and over again, we have watched as the Lord – seemingly at the last minute – melted the hardened heart, changed
the unchangeable mind and resolved the unresolvable conflict. PastorServe is not writing the story! The Lord himself is writing the story and we are blessed to participate as a part of His sovereign plan.
Second, change doesn’t happen overnight. The Royals were one of the worst teams in baseball in 2006 when Dayton Moore arrived as the new General Manager. The plan that Dayton put into place wasn’t visible to the average fan until 2013. And yet, behind the scenes, radical change was taking place.
Instantaneous change, in the major leagues or in the local church, is unrealistic. Patience is one of the greatest virtues when seeking to evoke change in the church. As we often say at PastorServe, the established church is more like an aircraft carrier then a speedboat. Even a slight course alteration will take time. When a plan for transformation is launched, it is essential to remember that change takes time.
Third, talent apart from character will ultimately crumble. I admire the character quality of several individual Royals players. While there is no guarantee that players wont do something stupid, it is clear that the Royals placed a premium on selflessness – placing the team ahead of personal pursuits.
This is one of the dominant themes at PastorServe. In my book, Survive or Thrive, chapter two was devoted to this very topic. All too often, we shove talented pastors onto the biggest stage, all too often ignoring glaring character deficits. We call this the maturity gap index, when character and maturity lag far behind talent and God given ability. We all need relationships that help us grow in character – not just talent.
While I could no doubt give you another dozen lessons I learned from the 2015 Royals, allow me to summarize several by saying that faith was critical to the team’s success. At the risk of spiritualizing a World Series championship, I am encouraged that several players, coaches and leaders of the team have used
their expanded platform afforded to them by winning the World Series to speak of the grace of the Lord Jesus.
Thank you for caring for pastors. PastorServe couldn’t move forward to extend care without your faithful prayer support and generous financial partnership. Please pray for the PastorServe team, that we would never try to take the place of the Holy Spirit; that we would exhibit patience with slow changing pastors and churches; that we would seek to close the gap between our gifts and our maturity and that our faith in the Gospel Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ would undergird everything we do.
Amazed by the Grace of the Lord Jesus,