This past Monday I played kickball. I think the last time I played kickball was in the 80’s. One of our youth arranged the game and organized it so that it was youth against the “old people.” In our case, if you were 30 years old or older you were “old.” I won’t address that in this post. After reflecting on the game (and have a good conversation with a friend about it) here are some of my thoughts and my Kickball Philosophy of Ministry.
The teams were very different. The home team was youthful, energetic, unexperienced, and a level of arrogance that comes from a naive hope of certain victory. The visitors were seasoned with developed talent, a depth of experience and certain level of humility that comes from hard work, victory and defeat.
The visiting team had been playing kickball before anyone on the home team was born. We knew the rules and the proper interpretation of the rules. We knew what field etiquette was expected and followed suit. We had our kickball values solidly in place and they were there for a reason.
The home team thought they had invented kickball. They brought their own rules to the field and new interpretations of our rules. Field etiquette was familiar, but even that took slight nuanced differences. They shared the same kickball values but lived them own in a completely different way.
On both teams there were players who were fully engaged the entire time, whether they were winning or losing. No amount of taunting or cheering could detour them. They knew they were there to play kickball and they were resolved to do so and nothing else. Then there were those who only played when they were winning or when they were at bat (or is that at kick?). If they weren’t happy they quit and did their own thing. There were those who cheered from the sides but never really entered the game. There were those who quit early for a variety of reasons.
Ministry is a lot like kickball. Here’s what I mean:
- we have created home and visiting teams among the generations and unfortunately this creates an us vs. them model; perhaps the better route would be to mix the groups and play to have fun
- the older generations have a depth of experience and wisdom and have proven themselves in ministry while the younger generation brings a whole new level of energy and enthusiasm to the ministry; if the two spend all their time arguing about the rules of ministry or the interpretation of the rules then not much ministry will get done
- as a member of the older generation I need to look for ways to communicate kingdom values to the younger generation without forcing the means and methods on them; some of my rules will have to give way to theirs
- in all aspects of ministry there will be those who are committed to the end, those who only commit when they feel like it, those who watch from the side and those who quit early; my job is to help people find a place in the game where they will be set up for success