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RESHAPE: Emerging Church Practice in a Volatile World

Watching Patrick wobble off the field last week in the 3rdquarter of last Sunday’s playoff game made my heart sink, as it did for most Chiefs fans. At that moment everything turned upside down and about 5 minutes later, with the Browns driving, the announcers declared Patrick would not return to the game.

As soon as I knew Patrick was hurt, I did pray for him, but deep inside, I was really concerned about whether the Chiefs could win without him. One quirky tackle and everything changed. Few of us had confidence that Chad could stave off the momentum and even less of us thought he would respond with an out of character 14-yard scramble when we needed it most! Today, it seems a crisis has been averted. Patrick looks destined to return to action, with little damage, if any. And Chad, well he will go back to the bench and into the folk lore of amazing KC memories. For me, I have an overwhelming reminder that during changing times, it is hard to know how things will come out, or who will step up.

For me, last Sunday shifted my thinking about the RESHAPING CHURCH project. Here are five observations from the game that I think apply to the church (any church):

1. Thousands of people watched the game in person and on TV. Thousands! Thousands of people in desperate need of Sexercise watch 55 people play beyond the point of exhaustion. How do we get people out of the stands and into the game?

2. Patrick led the Chiefs to scores on each of their first five possessions. But, even when the best plans are flawlessly executed, things can and do go off the rails. How well do we do when plans don’t go our way?

3. When things go wrong, the announcers’ mood changed, and I must confess mine too. Optimism switched to doubt in a heartbeat. Andy had a plan. His next man up approach instilled great confidence in his plan and the people who executed the plays. How do we affirm the church the way Andy affirmed Chad?

4. It is easy when you hold the clip board and sit on the bench to think the game is not about you. Player after player was ready when they were needed. How do we maintain a ‘Put me in coach, I’m ready to play attitude’ in the church?

5. As we look forward toward the Championship Game and the Super Bowl will the whole team be energized and ready to play now that they have seen what can happen in the blink of the eye? Will the crowd carry a more determined perspective, even if things go wrong? How do we build our church’s bench strength?

How will things go this week?

• Headlines about Patrick’s return and Chad’s amazing run got most of the radio talk show airtime.

• A lot of players stepped up last week. They could easily feel neglected.

• Several of the ‘top players’ did not make it into this week’s headlines. They too could grab attention and brag about what they did in the game or how they were neglected.

• And, One or two coaches, and another in the front office, are in line for promotions. They could easily get distracted.

Andy has created a singleness of focus that few will ever experience. It is not a guarantee that things will go his way, but it is an indication of what he expects and how he plans to win. How do we build that singleness of focus?

We have a play caller in Jesus Christ and the unstoppable power of the Holy Spirit. I wonder, if today God called our church into the ‘Big Game,’ would we have things in place?

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