I love baseball! I grew up on baseball. From my earliest memory, my dad would be sharing about baseball. He would play catch with me and teach me how to bat and how to play defense. We would listen to each broadcast of the St. Louis Cardinals game, whether it be day or evening, on the radio. Often there were trips to watch the game in person at the ballpark. We would roar with joy as we witnessed the gem of a great play and groan when a rally would fizzle out. And we had our heroes over the years. There were the great ones like Stan Musial, Bob Gibson and Lou Brock, and there were others who were good but who would float in and out.
Dad would always say that a championship baseball team had a couple of characteristics. First, the whole team loved the game. They would eat, breathe, sleep and live the game—that was their entire focus. Second, the team would be made up of young players who had incredible raw talent—stars who were in their prime and playing at the highest level of excellence, as well as seasoned veterans who were past their prime, but contributed to the team in key areas and who helped bring the rookies along and keep them encouraged and focused.
I share that with you because I have found the same principle to be true when it comes to championship churches. Their focus is Jesus: Creator, Redeemer, High Priest, Soon Returning King! It is all-consuming. And when Jesus is the consuming focus, then all the church, regardless of generation or ethnicity, is moved and motivated by the Holy Spirit to collaborate in a wonderful and seamless harmony to advance the kingdom. Newborn babes in the faith with their newfound joy and enthusiasm are joined with those believers who are at the top of their game in preaching, teaching and evangelizing, combined with the wisdom, nurturing, mentoring and encouraging of seasoned believers. The result is a church on fire! The church is one. The church is unstoppable. There is no division because they are a team. They rejoice together. They pray together. They work together for the glory of God and to lift up King Jesus!
The key is that it is never about self or division. It has always been about Jesus and one another. Championship churches live out the words of Jesus, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself….” Mark 12:30,31 (NASB).
Today, as never before, we need championship churches! We need each generation. We need you!
By Richard C. Dye, Sr. President