Not a Game Changer

I love sports and as a result I am a Sportscenter junky. I also like to watch or DVR “Happy Hour” on ESPN with the shows “Around the Horn” and “Pardon the Interruption.” I know most of what is going on in the sports world and very often I know why. All of that is to say that twice in the last two weeks I have heard someone say the someone is a “game changer.” Someone bragged that a particular coach is changing the game of college football. Another boasted that a freshman basketball player was changing the game of basketball for future players.
What struck me as interesting in both of these situations – that weekend both teams lost. This person who was supposed to be changing everything we know about a sport lost when they met a better team.
I have thought of a few lessons from this experience. The biggest is that no one is really changing the way the game is played. It doesn’t matter what game it is. You still have to master the basics better than others. You still have to pass accurately, catch securely and run faster no matter how fancy your offense looks. A team or player who has better fundamental skills almost always wins.
I suppose this stuck in my mind because in the past few years of my ministry I have heard repeatedly that a pastor is a “real game changer.” His approach to purpose or service or preaching or organization is the best we have ever seen. Lately, I am learning that a Church needs to master the basics before anything else matters. Are we committed to Jesus above all else? Do we value other people? Do we share the gospel? Are we grounded in the spiritual disciplines?
Most Churches that are making an impact are not really doing anything different from what has been done for centuries before, but rather they have committed themselves to the basics of the faith. Churches and Christians that are grounded in the basics will often see results from their efforts as God gives the increase.
I need to continually remind myself that I do not need the newest, latest and greatest in my faith. What I need to do is work on the basics of the faith in my life and in my Church. The game may look like it is changing but those who master the fundamentals will always see better results. True in football and in faith.

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