Today is the day. The day after the regular season ends in the NFL. For some teams, like mine, they are celebrating and preparing for the playoffs (Go Panthers). For others, they are cleaning out their lockers, planning their off season activities and taking a break. For coaches of several teams this day is the day they will be fired.
They call it black Monday. This is where a wave of NFL coaches get fired or quit. As ESPN roles constant coverage of these expected transitions, I realized that there are few things the church could learn from how this is done.
Before you get mad at me for comparing the local church to the NFL, just take a moment and think about this. We are not a sports organization. We are way more important. We are a spiritual organization. More than millions of dollars at stake, there are millions of souls at stake. So as serious as they take these coaches, we should take the kingdom work even more serious.
1. They let the coach finish out the season.
It’s rare that a team would get rid of their coach in the middle of the season. They understand the courtesy of letting him finish out a certain season. I think the church could learn from this too. Transitioning a pastor or staff member during the wrong season can cause extra damage that could have been avoided. Summer is a low impact season of ministry that would avoid major holiday weekends and high visitor months.
2. They make the announcement public.
Press conferences are called and statements are released immediately after the decision is made. There is little room for guessing or questioning whether or not a coach will be let go. What if we made transitions in ministry less dramatic by going public with the announcement? It puts everyone on the same page and avoids as much drama as possible.
3. They make the transition quick.
There is very little transition period. The coach is gone on the same day or within the same week. There is no long term exit strategy, no goodbye reception 2 weeks afterwards, its done on black Monday.
4. Everyone knows its coming. Even the coach.
If there is not enough W’s in the teams column, everyone expects there to be a change. If there is not new salvations, growth in attendance and a healthier financial status, everyone should expect a change in leadership. Very rarely does a church take the measures that the NFL does to fire their leader after one season of poor performance but maybe they should. Many of us can think of people in leadership roles that have been there for too long.
Not every season of ministry can be playoff contending. Not every church will go to the Super Bowl every year. But I think we should look at our leadership and the win-loss column and ask ourselves: is it time for a change? I think as a pastor I should look closely at how my own church is doing and ask myself: Am I doing everything I can to produce the kingdom work that God has called me to?
I also must realize the call of God is not contingent on my personal performance. But God has called us expand His kingdom with everything inside of us.