On Monday evenings, I have to take my 16 year old dancer daughter to her company rehearsals. It is about 45 minutes away from my house, so I don’t usually come home. I go to Starbucks and drink a Dr. Pepper that I sneak in with me (Idon’t do coffee), while I get a little extra study time in.
The last couple of weeks, I’ve gone to pick her up and had to wait a little while as her rehearsal went over. While waiting, I’m listening to the radio and switched over to 750 AM and I caught the Mark Richt show. For those of you not in Georgia, Mark Richt is the head football coach of the University of Georgia Bulldogs. Every Monday evening, he has to sit and listen to people call in and talk about the Dawgs and their recent game.
I don’t know how these coaches put up with these shows. I know that most major colleges have in their coach’s contracts to do a radio show. I know that they get a little extra pay for doing them. But you know they hate doing it.
Most of the calls seem to come from people who have no clue what they are talking about. I mean, do these guys who call in really think they know more about the game and the personnel and the game plan than a man who has been coaching in major college football for over 26 years? Even though I am a Tennessee fan, I really like Coach Richt. He is a solid Christian leader and a great football coach. I mean just consider this info from his bio on the official UGA website:
After eight seasons between the hedges, he’s… [won] two SEC Championships (2002, ‘05), three SEC Eastern Division titles and tied for another, and his 82-22 record is fourth best in the country in winning percentage among active coaches (.788). And his emphasis on graduation has come to fruition as 102 Bulldog players have earned their degrees since December, 2004.
His 2008 team finished 10-3–the sixth time in the last seven years the Bulldogs have won 10 or more games and also finished among the nation’s top 10 teams in the final national polls.
Richt was named SEC Coach of the Year in both 2002 and 2005.
He is one of only nine head coaches in Division I-A history to record 60 or more wins in his first six seasons and 70 or more wins in his first seven seasons and one of only seven to reach 80 wins in his first eight seasons. Richt is also one of only six coaches in history to win two SEC championships (2002, 2005) in his first five years, and one of only five head coaches in SEC history to record four straight 10-win seasons (2002-05
So, with that in mind, I’m listening to people call in on the Monday after the Bulldogs loss to Tennessee…which I enjoyed by the way…sorry Coach Richt 🙂 It amazes me how people call in and want to tell this man how to run his team, how to call plays, what decisions he should make, who on his staff he should fire, what kind of offense he should be running, which players he needs to bench and which players he needs to play. It is actually pretty comical to me!
I can’t imagine what goes through his head each Monday night as he has to sit and listen to these people. I imagine most of them are overweight, either haven’t played a down of football themselves or haven’t done so since high school, and surely haven’t coached football…at least not beyond their son’s pee wee team. I gather from listening to most of them that their entire hope in life lies in whether or not the Dawgs win each weekend.
I may be stereotyping a bit…and maybe I’m too judgmental, but for the most part I bet these people have no clue about what it takes to run an organization like a major college football program. They have no idea of the hours of training, planning, studying, strategizing that goes in to prepping for a game. They have no idea all the behind the scenes stuff he and his staff deal with. They have no clue about the personal struggles and stresses it all puts on his family. They don’t see the endless hours spent counseling and helping these young men with life issues.
I mean, last week, I was laughing out loud as I heard one guy call in…from what sounded like deep in the woods somewhere…and proceed to tell Coach Richt how he should be training his defense to tackle. He was actually telling him what he needed to do to teach them tackling techniques! Seriously?! Are you kidding me? I don’t know how Coach Richt doesn’t laugh out loud and just tell some of these guys to “shut up and get off the phone!” But he doesn’t. He handles it with humility and grace and patience. That’s why I like him (I wish Tennessee had a coach more like that right now, but that’s another story).
Well, all of that to say this. What if we as pastors and church planters had to do a call-in show every Monday? I think I’d lose my mind! However, you see, it really happens all the week long. In coffee shops, restaurants, living rooms, workplaces, through e-mail, on blogs, twitter and on facebook. We get Monday morning quarterbacked all the time…and Tuesday morning and Wednesday evening… Sometimes it’s positive…but a lot of the time we are attacked. Many people have no clue the pressures and the stress that goes in to leading people. Even when I was a staff member at a church and had some clue, I never knew the weight that a lead pastor carries. Most pastors of established have no clue the stresses and pressures and weight that a church planter carries.
Many people have an idea or an agenda or some advice that they are sure will work better, but they really have no clue. They are quick to judge and quick to criticize and quick to assume, but they really don’t have any idea what they are talking about. These Monday morning quarterbacks are usually about themselves and haven’t gotten their hands dirty or “taken a hit” or “made a tackle” or “carried the ball” in a long time…if ever! I know because I have been one of those. It is easy to do…in football, at work, in parenting, and in the church. I know that all of these people are not bad or “evil”. I know that sometimes people have legitimate things to say and God uses people to speak into my life all the time.
Leaders, know that you are going to get attacked. Sometimes brutally. Sometimes viciously. Sometimes unfairly. Sometimes you are gonna laugh. Sometimes you are going to cry. Sometimes your family is going to take shots. You will be lied about, misquoted, misinterpreted, misjudged, maligned. Learn to do as Jesus did and steal away and find your rest and refuge in Him. (Mark 1:35 is one example) Let God handle your battles. (2 Chronicles 32:7-8). Protect your family. Keep your heart and mind protected and pure. Stress will make you more susceptible to temptation. Focus on what matters. Take truth to heart and throw the rest out. How we respond and react to these says more about us and our relationship with Christ than anything.
Church members/attenders and Monday morning quarterbacks. No matter what church you are attending, pray for your leaders. Hold their arms up as Aaron and Hur did for Moses, so that God may use them to bring victory for the Kingdom. Remember what God’s Word says in Hebrews 13:7
Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
If I had to do a radio call in show on Monday, I would need a lot of grace…and patience…and a good sense of humor. Coach Richt is a good example of that. God has taught me some things about how I should respond. I respect Coach Richt, because I don’t think I could do it like he does. 🙂