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Your ministry can learn from MLB’s Opening Day

April 4, 2013
Opening Ceremony (photo - LA Times)

Opening Ceremony (photo – LA Times)

As Major League Baseball celebrates “Opening Day” at stadiums all around the country this week, churches should take notes.

On Monday, I went to Dodger Stadium in LA for opening day to watch the Dodgers and the Giants play. Despite the fact that it’s been 25 years since the Dodgers won a pennant, there were 55,000 fans full of hope and anticipation. Why? It was opening day!

I took this pic of Sandy Koufax throwing 1st pitch to Orel Hershiser as Magic Johnson and Tommy Lasorda watch.

I took this pic of Sandy Koufax throwing 1st pitch to Orel Hershiser as Magic Johnson and Tommy Lasorda watch.

Everything was new and it created momentum that everyone could feel. There was the freshly cut grass, two brand new score boards, a new ownership team, the first “first pitch” of the season, my first Dodger Dog, and a renewed hope by the fans because everyone starts off in first place on Opening Day. Last season (or the last 25 seasons) is history. This season holds exciting possibilities.

Wouldn’t it be great if your ministry could start over with your team enjoying a similar level of enthusiasm? Wouldn’t it be great if you could have an “opening day” that included renewed hope for the future regardless of “last season”?

I think you can and should. There’s only one thing you need to do first. You gotta quit! Seriously. You and your church will be better off. Why quit? So you can start again.

Think about it. In order to start a ministry, you either have to start something brand new or re-start something that was stopped. It makes a lot more sense to re-start something that was intentionally stopped.

Too many churches spend precious resources trying to create momentum by beginning brand new ministries. Short-term results are more common than long-term results with that approach.

Imagine Major League Baseball going year-round while also starting new franchises every year or so in an attempt to generate momentum and enthusiasm. That would be crazy! Existing franchises (players, staff, and even fans) would be worn out and New franchises would have extremely high costs getting off the ground.

They don’t do that because they’ve learned that a more effective way to generate momentum is to strategically QUIT. Temporarily stopping and then re-starting works.

Churches should take notes. A re-starting ministry creates the same “starting momentum” as a brand new ministry launch but costs much less time, money, and energy.

This summer you should look at your ministry and decide what you can strategically quit (or at least scale way back) so that you can re-launch it in the Fall.

Here are some important benefits of quitting:

You honor your key volunteers with a break

You and your team have time to work “on it” instead of just “in it”

The break provides space for evaluation, recruiting, training, vision-casting, etc.

New volunteer leaders have a clear entry point

Ministry is given a more sustainable pace

You leverage “starting momentum” in the Fall

So what should you strategically quit to create starting momentum?

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From → Leadership, Ministry

9 Comments
  1. Tony Cortez permalink

    Great job Mark! I told everyone it was a spiritual pilgrimage and this piece proves it. Go Blue!

  2. Chuck Grace permalink

    Another great insight Mark. I guess this is exactly what we were talking about today. For me this is Spring Training and I am looking forward to the opening day.

  3. Chris P. permalink

    Yes! Baseball and Jesus! Mark, awesome analogy. It would be awesome if we were as enthusiastic about Jesus and ministry as we are about our sports teams. We as humans don’t like change, especially when we are comfortable. I agree that we should all take or have an off season. A time to sit back and enjoy the weather. A time to evaluate our last season and take the time to rebuild a new season.

    • Thanks Chris! Personal off-season. Makes perfect sense. Because of the off-season, we Cowboy fans can anticipate this season despite last season. 🙂

  4. Chris P. permalink

    Yes we can… 🙂 And no matter the result of this upcoming season, we will always be looking to the future with high hopes and aspirations. This blog has totally got my wheels turning, thank you for the great insight…. Go cowboys!… And Go Braves!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Lessons from Dallas Cowboys Training Camp – Day 1: Don’t underestimate the value of a fresh start |

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