The Cowboys, Coaches, and Pastors

Yesterday, the hammer fell on Wade Phillips, the now former Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys – which happens to be my favorite team. His tenure in Dallas was filled with ups and downs. In 2007 they went 13-3 and then lost in the playoffs. Then, in 2008 – a year ripe with expectation – they missed the playoffs. In 2009, the team won the NFC East AND managed to earn their first playoff win in more than a decade, only to follow that week with a complete beatdown by the Vikings.

And then there’s this year. The team that was considered to have the most potential to play in a Superbowl hosted in their own stadium is now 1-7 and has completely given up on this season. Their QB is injured, their O-Line is inept, and their once stout defense that was considered “bend-but-don’t-break” has become bend, snap, and watch the other team score.

So when the news came down from Valley Ranch that Wade Phillips had been shown the door it struck me: nobody wants to coach this team. I’m a born-and-bred Cowboys fan. I can’t imagine cheering for any team with the ferocity that I cheer on the silver and blue, but this just isn’t an ideal team on which to hang your legacy.

The Cowboys are historically an incredibly frustrating team.

They are the second most valuable sports franchise IN THE WORLD! They have tons of talent and nothing to show for it this year. They have the potential to be the best team of all time, but they have one of the worst records in the league.

The pieces are all in place for this team to be not just a good team, but a great team – not a championship team, but an All-Time, Best-Ever Team. But the desire just isn’t there. The passion just isn’t there. The willingness to get out of their own way just isn’t there.

I’m not sure you’re aware of this, but this is the story of most churches too.

Christ died for the Church! (Ephesians 5:25) Nothing surpasses it’s value. We have the same Spirit working in our hearts that raised Christ from the dead! (Ephesians 1:20) We have the same message that changed not only the world when it was first told, but has completely altered history as a result!

And according to God’s Word, the pastors are called to coach the team – not abandon it or bemoan it! It’s our responsibility to set the tone “in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” (1 Tim. 4:12) It’s our responsibility to lead the flock and care for it. (1 Peter 5:2)

What would it look like for a generation of pastors and leaders within the church to actually lead the church? The church has within it the talent radically change the world, but it needs good “coaches” to remind it that it can.

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