Written by: Gary Steffes
“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need” – Acts 4:32-35
“You shall love the Lord Your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself…’” – Matthew 22:37-38
“All authority has been given to Me [Jesus Christ] in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...” – Matthew 28:18-20
The second week of June 2016 was an amazing blessing for me this year. My team, the Allen Americans, and I were blessed to win our second championship in a row in the ECHL. It is crazy for me to think about. Just three years ago I had never even made the final round. Now, two years later, I am beyond blessed with two championship rings.
I have had a few people ask, “What is it about your team in Allen that has helped you be so successful these past two seasons?” This is how I respond. “We never could have won without the skill, depth, and coaching we had. We were tremendously resilient. We never turned on each other even when our backs were against the wall. Confidence grew with each overtime victory, comeback, and win. Yet, one of the biggest characteristics that marked our teams the last two seasons is we all made a commitment to play for each other and not ourselves. This last characteristic, I believe, was what made our teams so special.”
Our team played for each other, and not ourselves. This was an essential, empowering component of our championship runs. As hard as it was at times, our team made the commitment to each other to put our individual agendas aside and go to war together, for the team. Whatever roles we needed to play. Whatever game plan was set before us. We bought in. We stuck together. We trusted coach and supported each other. It was not about who scored, but the team who won. It was not about individual fame and fortune, but the team and the championship. In making this commitment, our team was, in turn, committed to executing the hard aspects of the game: back-checking, hard defense, taking hits to make plays, blocking shots, not retaliating, not cheating to score goals. We stuck together through all the ups and downs of each playoff run. We sacrificed for the team and each other. In the end, it was beyond worth it. We were blessed to hoist the ECHL’s Kelly Cup. We were champions.
As followers of Jesus Christ, on mission with Him, this is what makes us champions as well. This is who we are as Christians. In life, it is not about us, but about Christ and others. We are on mission with Jesus Christ, our Coach, to “love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength,” “to love others as ourselves,” and “to make disciples.” Whatever roles need to be played, we play. For some it is to speak in the public eye. For others it is to organize logistics and raise children behind the scenes. For some it is to sow seeds, and others to reap the harvest. We stick together through every adversity. We have each other’s backs in crisis. We celebrate each other’s successes and abhor jealous and envious attitudes that tear each other down. We are united and strong, always building, always encouraging, so that all the world may know how incredibly amazing our God is.
As husbands, we lay down our lives for our brides and families. As parents, we commit to the hard aspects of raising and disciplining our children in the ways of the Lord, teaching them the ways of God, and loving them well. As leaders, we do not demand service from everyone, but serve those we are blessed to lead. As the people of God, humility girds us to take back seats and be called forward versus fighting to prove we deserve the seats of glory.
When we, the church, buy into the Coaches game plan, we will be blessed for it. A championship culture will be created. Lives will be radically changed. People will know all over this world Who God is and that they have a Father in heaven Who loves them unconditionally. Disciples will be raised. The Kingdom of God will multiply. And we will stand before the Lord with the joy of knowing our sacrifices paid off, as champions for Christ.
Are you bought in?
- Have you ever been a part of a team that has won a championship? What characteristics do you most remember about that team that contributed to your team’s success?
- Why does playing for the team versus playing for individual glory make a team stronger?
- If you were the leader of a team, how would you set the example in how to set aside individual agendas to play for the team? (Few areas to think about…points and who gets credit for scoring, roles coach asks you to play, words you use in the locker room and away from the rink, ways you respond after a tough game personally, but great game team wise, etc.)
- How can you help create a championship culture in your church? What example can you set today moving forward?
Other Scripture References: Philippians 2:1-11, Luke 22:42, James 3:14-18, Luke 22:24-27, 1 Corinthians 12:14-27
Posted on Thu, July 7, 2016
by Rick Randazzo