Basketball and Teamwork

Alright, so I am playing in a church basketball league right now. It is more fun that I thought it would be. We are 2-1. Our first loss was tonight, but it was close. My job mainly consists of standing under the basket and bumping people around. I wish I could say that my job was to get rebounds, but most of the shots our team takes are from outside so the rebounds come out long so I pretty much just bump around in the paint.

Our team has 2 players that are really good at street ball. In a 2 on 2 situation that could probably beat any other 2 people that they come up against in our league. In 5 on 5, though, things are a little different. They just don’t know how to pass the ball. The rest of the team fights to get into good positions and the sits and watches while they continue taking shots and trying to dribble through double coverage. Our job is to try and defend and to clean up the rebounds from their missed shots.

Now I am writing this not to complain, but because as I was sitting here thinking about this I got a big picture of youth ministry in my head. As a youth pastor often times I am a ball hog. I do all of the heavy lifting, all of the planning, all of the work. I think I do this because I am better at it than the other guys, and it is my job to do the work. I leave the rest of my helpers to do the grunt work, to talk to a few kids, and clean up my mess. I do a terrible job of including the rest of my help as equals and not as just people who are there serve me.

Somehow I have to change my mindset and learn that they are there to serve God and that their gifts and abilities are just as important as mine. As the “paid guy” I should be guiding, not dictating, and I should be allowing them to minister, not just using them. The problem is how do I get out of this “ball hog” mindset. Here are some ideas that I have.

1) Don’t worry if they miss some shots: I’m not perfect and what I do isn’t perfect so why am I upset when I think that what someone else does isn’t perfect.

2) Consistently pass them the ball:  If I only throw them “real” jobs once every 6 months or so they probably won’t be ready when the pass comes. If I will give them a few things to do every week, and empower them to minister and not just serve me on a regular basis they can get into the flow of the game.

3) Realize that it isn’t all on my shoulders: When I look at our youth ministry I honestly think it lives and dies on what I do and how I lead it. The truth is that it isn’t me, it is God who is important, and God can use more than just me.

4) Train them for when I am not in the game: Right now, our youth ministry can’t pull off a Wednesday night without me. I have missed like maybe 2 of them that I wasn’t at a church function, so no one else has really needed to do much. On top of that, when I am going to miss I normally set things up before I go. I don’t know what would happen if I suddenly couldn’t be there. That has to change.

I don’t know if there are any other youth pastors out there like me. I don’t know if I am the only one who tries to take on everything and do it all himself or herself. I don’t think I am alone in this. If you too struggle with the “I’ve got to do it all” syndrome like I do it is time for you to take an honest look at yourself and say, “Hi! My name is Shane (insert your own name) and I am a Ball Hog. I must give my ministry away to my team. I must trust in God’s strength and not my own.”

2 thoughts on “Basketball and Teamwork

  • February 28, 2006 at 4:28 PM

    Thanks Shane for the good confession. I could not fail to notice how basketball teaches you about youth ministry. It teaches us about the Body of Christ, and how it should be, and how it should not be. Actually, the Word teaches us, basketball enables us to understand. Thus, this sport stands clearly as the world’s most spiritual. A great gift from God.
    Keep posting us up, until we all enter His courts with praise.

  • February 28, 2006 at 5:06 PM

    enter his "courts" with praise. Tad you cheeky pun loving youth pastor you.


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