I am the son of a coach-turned-pastor, which basically means I was involved in every Christian sports organization known to man.  One thing I've noticed in my experience with Christian sports organizations is that many of them, in an attempt to reach out to coaches and athletes, develop clichés like "the Bible is our playbook" and "the church is our team."  To be fair, this approach was born out of a genuine effort to contextualize the Gospel to a specific sub-culture; however, while the approach was authentic, the theology was sloppy.

For example, the Bible is not a playbook.  It's not a list of situational "dos and don'ts" based on the devil's zone defense or something equally ridiculous.  Rather, the Bible is the story of Jesus.  From beginning to end, it is the story of God saving his people through his Son, who lived the perfect life we were supposed to live and accepted our shame and punishment because we didn't even come close.  While characterizing the Bible as a "playbook" may produce good rule-followers (read: moralists) and maybe even experts (read: Pharisees), it won't produce people who are so awestruck by the Gospel that they will sell everything and move to Somalia to plant churches through soccer camps.  Such devotion requires a full understanding of and response to the Father's unwarranted grace.

Furthermore, the church isn't just "a team."  That metaphor isn't so much inaccurate as it is insufficient.  The Church is not merely a collection of individuals pulling toward a common goal.  Rather, it's a family - the intimate connection between a bride and groom (Eph. 5:31-32); brothers and sisters bearing each other's burdens (Gal. 6:2); orphans entering into a permanent family (Rom. 8:15).  Anyone who has played a team sport understands this concept. Good teams, close teams, almost always use familial terms:  "That coach was like a father to me"; "My teammates were my sisters this year." When your brothers and sisters hurt, you hurt. Likewise, when the Church is persecuted, we respond with prayer and fasting.  

Teams come and go, but families are forever.  God didn't save the world by sending a coach to assemble a team full of free agents.  The Father sent The Son to establish a family that would bless the world (Gen 12:2, 1 Peter 2:9-10).  We can do no less.

A brother is born for adversity... Proverbs 17:17

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