Monday, January 25, 2010


The Colts and the Saints are in the Super Bowl this year. I’ve been a Colts fan since I was a kid in Maryland, so I’m glad. The trophy given to the winner of the Super Bowl is the Vince Lombardi trophy.
Vince Lombardi was the coach of the Green Bay Packers. He led them to 5 championships in 9 seasons. Under his leadership, the Packers won the first two Super Bowls. There’s a book out now about the 26 Rules of Lombardi. But I was cleaning out my files recently and came across notes about Lombardi’s 5 Rules for Success. I know starting a new church isn’t exactly the same as football, but I think we can see some application.

1. Lombardi had 1 goal – to win.

“Winning isn’t everything, but the will to win is everything.”
“If it doesn’t matter who wins or loses, then why do they keep score?”
We Christians know that it is hard to keep score on our work for God. Our goal is to be faithful. But I think I Corinthians 9:24 says something about our attitude in our faithful work: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.”
As an athlete denies himself and gives his all, so should we. I like a guy to be aggressive. Don’t wait for things to happen. (The verse about waiting on the Lord doesn’t mean we should never do anything – the Bible is filled with action verses.) Plan, visit, study, pray, call, talk, write, email, preach, teach, mail, do. Then God has something to bless. It’s like having a garden. There is no life apart from God (God gives the increase - I Corinthians 3:6), but somebody has to plant and water. God will grow our church, but we must sow the seed.
“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.”

2. Lombardi built an organization that shared his philosophy.

“Teamwork is what the Green Bay Packers were all about. They didn't do it for individual glory. They did it because they loved one another.”
“Build for your team a feeling of oneness, of dependence on one another and of strength to be derived by unity.”
You can’t please everybody. And neither can you have a church going in 10 different directions. Know what you believe. Teach it. Get people of a like mind to work with you. For those who can’t work with your philosophy and beliefs, let them exit gracefully. There must be a sense of unity and oneness for your church to prosper.

3. Lombardi taught his players the basic fundamentals.

“Some people try to find things in this game that don't exist; but football is only two things - blocking and tackling.”

We need to teach people the basics of doctrine. We need to teach people the basics of Christian living. Instead, many churches waste their focus on politics, the environment, convictions that are not Bible-based, endless disagreements on the end times, etc. No wonder many Christians are ripe targets for cults. They don’t know what they believe or why.

4. Lombardi trained his players to execute 6 basic plays to perfection.

“Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”
Sometimes the difference between and ho-hum sermon and a great one is taking the extra time to find the right illustration or think awhile to come up with a good application. It’s tempting sometimes to blow the dust off a message we preached a few years ago and taking 15 minutes to review it. But that can lead to a dull, lifeless message. Our people need better than that.

5. Lombardi instilled in his players enthusiasm.

“If you aren't fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.”
People want to follow someone who is passionate about what they believe. You don’t have to have a life of the party personality to do this. People are looking for something that you really believe and that comes from your heart. Be an encourager. Build faith in your people. Here’s a quote from CS Lewis that I like:
“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
If you are starting a church, you are one of the most important people in your town or city. You are making an impact on the lives of generations of people. You are speaking for God and dealing with eternity.
That’s something to be enthusiastic about!