I have LOVED the various SportsCenter specials featuring former coach and current NFL analyst Jon Gruden. After watching Gruden’s Quaterback Camp featuring All-SEC and First Round Draft Pick Tim Tebow, and some other guys from lesser football conferences, I gained a huge amount of respect for his style of leadership and coaching. I was pleased to find out that he had written a book documenting his career and quick success from a DIII quarterback to Super Bowl Champion Coach, and just finished reading it on my iPad via Kindle.
So here are some of my thoughts on being a great campus pastor, based on some of highlights from Do You Love Football?! by Jon Gruden…
…I Need To Love My Job
‘Through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, you’re always going to be ahead of the game if you love what you do for a living.”
Pastoring- laboring for the work of God THROUGH me- is relentless, overwhelming, and at times impossible… especially apart from the working of God IN me. Like coaching an NFL team, there are people who are fully vested in the outcome of Sunday, and are passionate about seeing wins happen. And often, I don’t always hear what went well… most times I get to hear what went wrong, and assume things are good unless noted. That can be overwhelming… and without loving ministry and loving being a campus pastor, my lifespan is sure to be short. Great news is, I love being a Sweaty Church Campus Pastor… getting to be a part of life change every Sunday makes me tick! I just need a bit more sleep to get it done than Coach G.
…I Am Responsible For The Outcome
“Your players – how well they play, how many games you win – really distinguish a good coaching job from a poor one.”
Its easy to find reasons why guests are not coming back, pioneers are drifting away to the sending campus, or why the environment feels flat… but all of those reasons ultimately come back to my leadership as Campus Pastor. Coach Gruden held his staff and players accountable, but no one was more accountable for the outcome on a Sunday than him. God controls what happens in a person’s heart and mind on a Sunday, but we contribute what happens to their experience.
…Remember, There Is Always A Reason Why
“Just work your ass off, but don’t let your ambition get in the way of the respect for what these people have done – what you have not been a part of.”
Its easy to enter a new situation and see what isn’t working or what can be better, but at some point someone made a decision to make it that way. When Gruden would arrive at a new team, his dad chided him to not compromise what needed to be changed or updated, but to also respect the work of those who had been there before. For our campus, its important to realize that everyone walks in the door with a conception of church, and my goal is to work my tail off to lead them to where God is calling us, there is a big difference between judgment call and judgment.
…Lead My Team To Execute
“Sunday’s your day… We’re going to make adjustments, as you know, but we’re not going to be telling you what to do. That’s your day to perform.”
Every Sunday, Coach Gruden would assemble a list of plays, and script during the week the first set or series. Sunday is not a day to guess or try something new, Sunday was execution day – everyone walks in knowing where we are going. Thorough preparation during the week, people, equipment, knowing when and where to be, anticipating guests… leads to excellent execution on Sunday. Rigor during the week leads to victory on Sunday.
…Build A Team of Vision Carriers
“But I need help to lead. I can’t be the Lone Ranger. I rely on the coaches to give me some juice.”
Gruden was talking about leaning into the collective wisdom and will to win of his assistant coaching staff and really this is just leadership 101… by myself, there is no way to keep up with or ever accomplish all that needs to be done, let alone all that wants to be done on our campus. But if I surround myself with vision carriers, sneezers, and freaks about what we are doing, not only will the tasks get completed, but we will have a great time along the way. Competency goes far, but having people who lose sleep Saturday nights because they cannot wait to see what God will do on Sunday… that’s when it really gets fun.
Ok… so nothing really new or earth-shattering in any of those, but it was fun to pretend like I was getting coached by one of the best in his field… My own little Gruden’s Campus Pastor Camp.