Over the past few weeks, my daughter has been playing soccer. Her team is filled with a large amount of girls who have not played soccer before. They have not won a single game. In fact, I don't think they have scored a single point.
Here are a few lessons I am learning.
1. If you are going to complain about the coach you should have the guts to voice your opinion directly to him/her. Sitting on the sidelines, I have heard a lot of complaining. The obvious application to the church is, if you are going to voice your opinion, do so directly to the pastor in a respectful way.
2. If you are going to complain, at least have the guts to do something about it. These same parents who complain are the same ones who took the step backward and left the poor parent standing out front who is currently coaching. (I have an excuse, we joined the team two weeks into the season.) If you aren't willing to lead or step up to an area of responsibility in the church, you have no right to an opinion about how things are being done. You may have a good opinion, but if you are not invested in the community you have no right to voice it.
3. It takes someone outside of the game to see how good or bad you are playing. During one game, the girls were wandering around, playing with their hair, and talking to each other. All the while the other team was moving the ball and easily kicking it into the goal. The girls came off the field talking about how hard they were playing. We often need a mentor or a very honest friend who is willing to risk the friendship to tell us the truth about how well we are "playing the game."
4. It is just a game. I am able to encourage good plays and teamwork. I am able to accept a loss as long as I see effort. Failure is more acceptable than a failure to even try in the first place. At least SOMETHING was attempted.
5. I have always been a solo-sport kinda-guy. I have always hated playing on teams because I can't trust other people to play their part and play it well. And, if they are playing their part well, chances are I am the weak link. With solo sports if I win, then I am repsonsible, and if I lose then I am responsible. I do need to be a team player, and I need to learn to trust my team. Now I just need a team.
6. If you complain about bad calls when you are losing, you are a bad loser. Those who complain about megachurches while they are pastoring a church that is not growing and hasn't reached a new person for Christ in some time...well...you see where that one leads. I don't think being in a large or small church is either good or bad. They all have their good and bad points. I do, however, think that everything goes back to motive and what the pastor does with the responsibility God has given.
I am sure there are more things I have learned like don't yell from the sidelines and realizing they are young, but I think that is enough for now.