I have the wonderful privilege of coaching soccer as a side hustle to being a pastor. The high school that I coach at has long been considered an athletic powerhouse and their girls soccer program is no exception. Players have come through our program who play at the highest level: national team players in every age bracket, countless Division I athletes and many more who have received recognition across the state and country for their talents. Due to changes in the structure of club soccer, we entered this season losing many of those players and returning only seven varsity team members from the previous year.
By any standards, this season should have been a “rebuilding year.” One where we remade our team through training players who would be effective next year or the following one. A team going through these types of transitions would generally have a record that reflected a more difficult season. Today we begin our playoff run, ranked second in the state, having just come off winning a league title. This season was, by no means, a rebuilding year.
So what is the key to our success? Unity was truly at the core of what has made this group of girls an excellent soccer team. In the past, we have had more talent and less success. Teams that lack unity, will never live up to their potential. The players on this year’s team dedicated themselves to the mission and to one another. Their vision was unified and because of that, they played with a love and commitment that brought great success on the field and profound camaraderie off the field. The whole is truly greater than the sum of the parts.
One of our values at Cross Culture is being united. Spanning age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, doctrine, and church tradition, we are a church dedicated to sharing a life united by Jesus and led by the Holy Spirit.
What this means is that we operate out of a love and commitment to one another, because we believe in the mission of displaying and declaring the good news of Jesus Christ. We dedicate ourselves to this unified vision, and in doing so, we continue to see growth in both our church and our individual relationships.
In our context, we do this in a couple of ways. First, we show up. It is hard to be united when we are not together. In the same way, a soccer team could never be successful if players only showed up to practice occasionally, a church cannot be united, if we are not willing to show up for one another. What does this mean?
We show up on Sunday mornings. Our corporate gatherings are important to grow and worship and learn together. This grounds us to the mission and reminds us of how God is at work in our community. Come to church this weekend, even if you don’t feel like it.
We show up throughout the week. Being united means living beyond Sunday. Church cannot be the only place we build relationships. The deepest bonds are fostered in our everyday lives together. Reach out to someone you don’t know very well this week. Invite them to coffee.
Being united also means, we go deep. If a player isn’t willing to go the distance for her teammates, the team will never be as successful as they have the potential to be. Talent can carry you only as far as an impeding obstacle. Without depth, a team cannot survive adversity. Life and church are filled with hard things, but when we commit to going deep, we can see life and beauty that will carry us through even the worst of times. How do we go deep?
We go deep with the Lord. The only way to be united during difficult situations is through being connected to the source. If we have not gone deep with the Lord, even a slight breeze can shift our faith. Depth and intimacy with Christ are the roots that will ground us no matter what. Take time to be with the Lord. Go to a quiet place. Worship Him today.
We go deep with one another. The Bible calls us to carry one another’s burdens. Sometimes we cannot stand on our own, and we need our brothers and sisters to lift us up. When we have taken the time to go deep in relationship, we will not be shaken by difficulties because we can lean on one another. Put in the work to build relationships. Join a Life Group to get connected.
So where are you at today? Do you need to show up? Have you been letting comfort or laziness keep you from showing up with and for others? Do you need to go deep? Is there fear attached to going deep with fellow believers? Have you avoided intimacy with the Lord? It is too important to let these things be merely ideas. Let us be a church willing to move beyond the surface and be truly and deeply united with one another.
See you Sunday,