I’m currently coaching 2 of my 5 kid’s soccer teams. This means that I’m at practice at 4:15pm twice a week to set up the field and get ready to coach 19 players for 3 1/2 hours. We practice in the outfield of several baseball fields at a local school.
And every time I show up to run practice, sometimes even on each of the 3 fields, there is a dad with a bucket of baseballs playing catch, practicing pitching, doing batting practice, and working his son one-on-one to improve his game.
I love this. I really do. Every time I walk by I want to high five the Dad for investing in his kid and making time to play catch. Their are literally thousands of Dad’s like them NOT doing that.
But I also want to ask, “What are you doing?”
Where are all your kids friends? Are you playing baseball with your kid or coaching your kid so that he can play baseball in a jersey? It’s odd to me that gone are the days of 8 kids playing whiffle ball in the street after school. You can’t play soccer anymore in America without a net, a coach, jerseys, and a referee. I’m convicted of this every time I watch those Dad’s coach. Why don’t I play ball with my kids more outside of soccer season? Sometimes I wonder if we’ve organized the fun right out of playing sports. The sandlot picked on this trend pitting the backyard poor kids against the organized rich ones.
And the truth is, we’ve organized the life out of a lot of stuff. I think we’ve done it with Sports. I think we’ve also done it with “Organized Religion” too. Ask the average person on the beach in San Diego- I do it every summer- and you’ll find they have a distaste for “organized religion”. Call it what you want, but they’re at least partially right in their distaste. As one who works full time in an church, I know that when people gather to truly worship God, that’s an awesome, and often life-altering experience. However, when people won’t worship God with their money, life, relationships, or words unless they are in the church… then we’re worshipping the organization and not the God it is meant to point people to.
Organized anything has all kinds of dangers. Here’s three I want to become more and more leary of…
ORGANIZATION DEPENDENT ACTION: When people are waiting for the organization to move before they do, it’s backwards. Organizations should not shape people, people should shape the organization. You don’t need a sports organization to legitimize your sport or a church to make your small group Bible study official or a club to make your hobby successful. Just go change the world.
ORGANIZATION LIMITING RED TAPE: I almost lost my job once for using a sound system off our church campus that was not allowed to leave the church campus. I saw no reason for it to sit idle in a closet while I rented one to use in a school gym, so I just broke the “rules” and took it. I got in a lot of trouble for it. But when the rules of an organization stifle the life of the organization, it’s time to cut the tape.
ORGANIZATION DEFINED SUCCESS: Organizations are notorious for deciding success based on a set of criteria, often numbers based. I actually think numbers matter, but they do not equal success. When an organization begins to be the guardian of the definition of success, there is great danger of us notoriously missing the point. Before you know it, you worship your qualitative criteria instead of the less quantitative and often more significant changes.