Nashville’s Tennessee Titans’ running game has something to teach the church. After a holdout that caused Chris Johnson, the best running back in the National Football League the past three years, to miss all of training camp, the Titans signed him to a $50+ million dollar contract. Chris is one of only six NFL players to run 2,000 yards in a season and calls himself CJ2K. However, the first 3 games of this season (2011), CJ didn’t even have a total of 100 yards. So what can the church learn from this?
* Don’t make excuses for poor performance, but take personal responsibility for it. Both CJ and the Titans have openly admitted that their running game is really bad. They have publicly said that they are not getting the job done. The church, however, although it has been declining in both numbers and influence for many years, continues to make excuses and blame society for the church’s poor performance.
* Don’t call the abnormal normal. Remember past success and don’t lower your standards. The Titans have refused to accept their pitiful running game as normal. They remember the success of the past three seasons and are motivated to get it back. The church, however, has accepted its lack of spiritual power — its failure to set people free from sin and to transform society — as normal. The church has forgotten its amazing success that is described in the book of Acts. It has forgotten that it was powerful and accepts being pitiful as normal.
* Continually make adjustments, strive for improvement, and try new ideas. The Titans work everyday on improving their running game. They publicly state that they are going to keep working on it until they get it right. The church, however, is often afraid to make changes. It is satisfied with low performance. If someone in church does try something out of the box, she or he is often criticized, resisted, and forced to conform back to the things that are not producing success.
* When you see a little success, don’t get satisfied, but keep striving for improvement. Yesterday, against the Cleveland Browns, CJ ran for more than 100 yards. Yet, the Titans are not satisfied — they know that there is much more success for them to achieve. Perhaps the church should face the fact that maintaining sub-standard performance is a tragic denial of the power of God. Perhaps we should read the book of Acts, see what the church is really supposed to be accomplishing, and strive for that level of Christianity with the same determination, practice, and effort that the Titans strive for improving their game.