“If I get a chance to knock somebody out, I’m going to knock them out and take what they give me. They give me a helmet, I’m going to use it.”
That’s what a linebacker for the Miami Dolphins said Wednesday about the NFL trying to crack down on concussion inducing helmet hits. And he’s got a point, they do give him a helmet but I don’t think he took that thought far enough. For instance, they also give you cleats. I’ve got one word for you, “stabbing.” Have you considered just leaping in the air like the guy from movie “Only the Strong” and kicking people? Look at him in that poster, who wouldn’t be afraid of a man in pleated jeans jumping at you menacingly?
Come to think of it, they also give you exercise bikes to ride on the sideline in between plays so you don’t go cold. What if you kicked off the stands of one of the bikes and just drove it right on the field? Forget tackling, do wheelies or bunny hops on opponents.
I should probably be an NFL coach with all the wisdom I’m able to spit, but it’s not easy to be a coach. For one thing you have to wear sweater vests constantly and that’s not awesome. Plus players sometimes get arrested and you have to pretend that you didn’t suspect a guy who grew up without a dad and any sense of the word “no,” would make mistakes when handed $10 million and an invitation to the most dangerous place on the planet, “outside a strip club.” No, it’s not an easy job, but I still think it’s easier than something my dad and many of you have done.
I am of course talking about starting a church. That is one of the most difficult jobs on the planet. The church my dad started, Grace Baptist, in Hudson, Massachusetts turns 25 this weekend which is 907 years old in church planting terms. Instead of our typical guest post I thought I would pay tribute to all those folks, pastors and friends alike, who have done the near impossible. Many, many of you have been part of church plants over the years. And if you have, here are a few things you might recognize.
15 things that happen when you start a church.
1. You will meet in weird places that don’t feel exactly like church. Our church rocked it in an old car wash for a while.
2. You don’t get to choose your first members. My dad’s first member was a 6’5” homeless man named Jack who used to get sick in the middle of service in what was a small, poorly acoustically prepared for giant men to get sick, car wash.
3. Your oldest members will occasionally bring their own tambourines to service and unexpectedly go up front to play them. To slow songs.
4. A whole bunch of people will think you’re too conservative.
5. A whole bunch of people will think you’re too radical.
6. At some point, someone will complain that the ex-stripper who sings at church is not wearing enough clothing. You will swear they did not teach you how to handle that exact situation in seminary.
7. You will accidentally do a bait and switch, promising a fun pizza event that turns into a get saved right this second moment, that the local paper eviscerates you for.
8. People in your new city will wonder what your pastor does the rest of the week since he only really “works” one day a week.
9. Your pastor will think about quitting approximately 84 times. He will think he is the only pastor who feels that way.
10. Someone on a youth group trip will break a limb. You will trust in the almighty signed parental waiver.
11. A crazy drunk guy will try to break into your pastor’s car to sleep through the cold New England night, will have a nurse falsely call the pastor and say he’s committed suicide and will inexplicably give one of the pastor’s kids a pet snake. (Is that one too specific? Probably.)
12. You will meet in a school and become some sort of ninja black belt at stacking and unstacking chairs.
13. You will be surprised at how few people it takes to find yourself wrapped up in church politics.
14. You will be not so secretly jealous of other churches in your town who are able to have bouncey things at their Vacation Bible Schools.
15. You will laugh at how wildly off base all your fancy plans were for your community but how perfectly God provides at just the right time.
That list could be a bajillion points long and I hope you’ll add to it. But today, I just want to say thank you.
Thanks to the church planters who do the crazy. Who do the impossible. Who do the difficult.
In Ohio and Tanzania, California and Canada, thank you for starting churches.
Have you ever been part of a church plant?