The Turkey Bowl

I played in my first football tournament this weekend with a bunch of people from my neighborhood. Somehow one of my neighbors had my email address and asked if I’d like to play. I said sure with one major caveat: I’ve never really played organized football. Apparently this wasn’t a problem, until I received an email last week from our quarterback. I had to memorize the following instructions:

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I tried to read the instruction that went along with this diagram, but that followed with an email to the team letting them know that it may be impossible to have this all memorized. The reply was somewhat reassuring. Just memorize the routes, I’m told. Here’s what they look like:

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After staring at these play routes and such, I think I’ve got a handle on some of it. I knew football was a chess match, but I had no idea how much strategy went into a friendly football tournament.

This little football experience is a good illustration of how I felt a year and a half ago going into this world of church planting. I read several books on the subject, which only heightened my anxiety about going into this profession.

You have to know the following:
Get to Know Anybody All the Time
Be the Best Leader known to History
Study Proficiently
Raise this Amount
Do These 10 Things
Evangelize Effectively
Disciple Diligently
Preach the Best
Know Every Business Model and Pick One
Get Involved in these 5 Community Events
Brand your Church and be the Best Marketer Maker


The list could go on and on. Many trees have suffered fateful falls due to the printing of church planting books. This is not all bad, of course. We need these books! The problem is that I remember how overwhelming it all was. It still is to some extend, but not as much. The biggest lesson is learning to depend on the Lord. This is God’s game.

At the end of the day, there’s a simplicity to football. Once I understood what I was staring at from these Turkey Bowl emails, things eventually made sense. Patterns emerged and after actually playing in the tournament today, things actually came together nicely.

Church planting has rhythms and patterns as well. One such pattern is discovering and investing in new relationships. There is an urgency to church planting that should probably exist in any church. There is an urgency for people to know the Gospel in order for them to experience the life-changing and transformation effects of grace. This urgency keeps a church planter like me on edge. I view this as a good thing, even a healthy thing for my competitive spirit.

What keeps you on edge? What patterns exist in your life? Any that need to go?