The Warriors were up 3-1, but the Cavs won the NBA finals.
The Indians were up 3-1, but the Cubs won the World Series.
Alabama was up 24-14 on Clemson at the end of the third quarter in the CFP Championship Game, but Clemson won the game.
The Falcons were up 28-9 and lost the Super Bowl.
What can I learn, as a church leader, from these championship games?
Playing with the lead is hard.
Once a team gets the lead, the fear of failure is magnified. This affects play calling, aggressiveness, and urgency. Church leaders must remember the victory is secured by Christ and there is no need to fear failure. We must not stop strategizing, being aggressive, and living with a sense of urgency because these symptoms indicate we’ve lost sense of the mission. We must not rest until EVERY PERSON has the opportunity to respond to the Gospel. We must faithfully execute the game plan given to us in Matthew 28 and not loose our edge of advancing the mission of God.
Momentum is extremely important.
In each of these games, you could sense the winning team loosening their grip on the trophy as the game(s) continued. After sprinting to the lead, you realized that they were standing on thin ice and about to lose it. You sensed a change of momentum.
Most people understand momentum in the context of a sporting event, but momentum is extremely important in church life. I’m amazed at how many church leaders do not have a clear sense of how to build and sustain momentum in ministry. Craig Groeschel wrote a helpful book called, IT: How Church Leaders Can Get It and Keep It. We’ll all serve our churches better when we begin to understand how momentum works in ministry.
The opponent will fight until the end.
There is no tomorrow in a championship game or series. The season is over no matter what. The team trailing on the scoreboard is desperate and throwing everything in the playbook at the opposing team. A team doesn’t make it to the championship with a desire to come in second.
Church leaders must remember that our Enemy, is defeated but will fight until the very last moment. He will continue to tear down and destroy. He will continue to attack individuals, families and churches. He will use moral failure, division, and lies to destroy every life that he can.
BUT HE IS STILL DEFEATED.
Because of Christ, there will be no collapse in the victory march of the Christ-follower. There will be a day of celebration for those who are found in Christ. There will be a day of ultimate victory, but until that day, we must stay locked in, not lose momentum and recognize the fight with our enemy.