The NFL Lockout and Church Walkouts


If you are a sports fan, you are probably aware that there is an ongoing labor dispute between the NFL owners and players which has resulted in a lockout.  For those of you who aren’t NFL followers, this means the owners have banned players from coming to practices, getting playbooks, working out with teammates, and meeting with coaches.  In an article by Jeffri Chadiha, Christian Ponder (a rookie quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings) said, “The biggest things you do as a quarterback are: learn the playbook and get acclimated with your teammates.” Christian Ponder, unknowingly, has given us keen insight into the struggles many churches face.

Do Churches Know the Playbook?

Playbooks tell you where you need to go.  The “playbook” for churches is their mission.  Many churches act like they don’t know why they exist, where they are going, or what they are doing (Matthew 28:19-20).  Leaders don’t lead and members aren’t on the same page, and there is no clear direction to the decision-making process.  Just as Christian Ponder notes that he needs to learn the playbook, churches need to learn the mission instead of being directed by individual agendas.

Do People in Churches Know Their Position?

Quarterbacks keep the goal in front of the team and the other players follow his lead.  The most successful football teams have players who realize they aren’t the quarterback and a quarterback who leads.  The same is true of churches (Hebrews 13:17). The most successful churches have leaders who keep the mission in front of the team and members who do their part.

Do People in Churches Have a Team-First Mentality?

The best teams have good chemistry.  Teammates motivate each other and care more about the team than their own performance.   Churches with internal disputes have members lacking good relationships with others because they only care about themselves.  The heart of this is pride; they want to be the quarterback.  They won’t follow their leader because they want to be the leader.  Many of these problems occur because pastors and members don’t have a love for one another that flows out of the love they have been shown in Christ. They have forgotten their mission, John 14 – love each other so that the world will know you are my disciples.

Do You Know the Playbook and Your Teammates?

Do you know your role? Are you seeking to take charge of this role?  Are you following your leaders? Do you know your church’s mission? Do you have a relationship with your teammates?  If you can say yes to these questions then continue to persevere.  If you can’t answer these questions positively then examine your heart.  Examine how you can grow in these areas. Find answers in the Word of God. Learn from the wisdom of those in your church.  Go out and play your position with excellence.

Contributions by Brent Aucoin

Corbit White
Corbit White is a pastoral intern at Faith Church and is preparing to serve as a missionary in Berlin, Germany.