Very rarely do movies affect me deeply.  You know, I’m a guy.  “Let’s blow stuff up for two hours and then move on” I say! 

However, I cannot get the movie Moneyball out of my mind.  I sat riveted this past weekend 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.  I was thinking, “If 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.”  Then as my wife fell asleep half-way through the movie, my mind went into overdrive!

  1. “Why did Beane make that decision?”
  2. “Why didn’t Art Howe buy-in early on?”
  3. “How did a recent college graduate get so much influence?”
  4. “How in the world did that team set a record by winning 20 games in a row?”
  5. “Why did Beane and his wife get divorced?”

But here was the big question I asked “Did God leave any lessons in this movie that if applied by churches could regain lost momentum?”  You can read my initial findings by clicking here.

Now, I know what you must be thinking – “Brian, it’s baseball.  Can you not just enjoy the movie for what it is?”  Well sadly, “No.”

You see, I simply cannot accept the concept of plateaued or declining churches.  We all know they are a reality.  I just can’t accept it.

  • Churches that are not prevailing are not a picture of who God is.
  • The Kingdom of God is always moving.  Always advancing.  Always reaching out.
  • I am an idealist and at best it is simply not the way things should be.  At worst, it is embarrassing.

I pass seven declining churches on the way to my church each Sunday morning.  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?  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?  Last month?  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?  Did they stay?  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 corner who carries the name the Bride of Christ?!

In addition to tearing apart the movie Moneyball looking for leadership principles, I also spent time today in the book of Acts and Mark Dricoll’s book Doctrine looking for key learnings 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.  But maybe, just maybe, God may use me to help ensure our church continues to prevail.

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