Very rarely do moviesÂ affect me deeply.Â You know, I’m a guy.Â “Let’s blow stuff up for two hours and then move on” I say!Â
However, I cannot get the movie Moneyball out of my mind.Â I sat riveted this past weekendÂ watching Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt, and Peter Brand, played by Jonah Hill, turn around a terrible baseball franchise using new thinking, finding new solutions, and leading others in a completely unconventional yet innovative manner.
I actually became a little angry during the movie.Â I was thinking, “IfÂ a new, creative, out-of-the-box approach can work for the Oakland A’s, certainly it could work at a local church with plateaued or declining attendance.”Â ThenÂ as my wifeÂ fell asleep half-way through the movie, my mind went into overdrive!
- “Why did Beane make that decision?”
- “Why didn’t Art Howe buy-in early on?”
- “How did a recent college graduate get so much influence?”
- “How in the world did that team set a recordÂ by winning 20 games in a row?”
- “Why did Beane and his wife get divorced?”
But here was the big question I asked – “Did God leave any lessons in this movie thatÂ if applied by churches could regainÂ lost momentum?”Â You can read my initial findings by clicking here.
Now, I know what you must be thinking – “Brian, it’s baseball.Â Can you not just enjoy the movie for what it is?”Â Well sadly, “No.”
You see, I simply cannot accept the concept ofÂ plateaued or declining churches.Â We all know they are a reality.Â I just can’t accept it.
- Churches that are not prevailing areÂ not a picture of who God is.
- The Kingdom of God is always moving.Â Always advancing.Â Always reaching out.
- I am an idealist and at best it is simply not the way things should be.Â At worst, it is embarrassing.
I pass seven declining churches on the way to my churchÂ each Sunday morning.Â And each Sunday I think:
- Do they have any level of expectation this morning?
- What are they wanting Jesus to do?
- What are their services like?
- Is anything memorable going to happen today that people will talk about all week?
- What leadership decisions were made 10 years, 20 years, or 25 years ago that led them to this point?Â Could my church be making some of the same?
- What are their current leaders like?
- Was someone’s life changed in that building last week?Â Last month?Â Last year?
- Do they care about unchurched people at all?
- Would they ever change their methodology?
- Did they ever make hard decisions?
- Would they even attempt anything uncomfortable if it meant expanding the Kingdom?
- When is the last time they took a risk?
- Did they ever hire the right people? Â Did they stay?Â If not, why?
- Are they willing to reach out to another generation or race?
- I’m now also going to be thinking if the Oakland A’s can be turned around with a little innovation, why can’t that church on the cornerÂ who carries the nameÂ the Bride of Christ?!
In addition toÂ tearing apartÂ the movie MoneyballÂ looking for leadership principles,Â I also spent time today in the bookÂ of Acts and Mark Dricoll’s bookÂ DoctrineÂ looking forÂ key learningsÂ I have not seen before that could ignite our church(es).
I wish I could fix the seven churches I pass each week but I can’t.Â But maybe, just maybe, God may use me to help ensureÂ our churchÂ continues to prevail.
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