Encounter: Read through Philippians 2:1-5 in The Passion Translation and the NIV. Underline words or phrases that make an impression on you or shimmer with life.
A news story came across the internet recently about a coach known for his unconventional methods on the football field. Kevin Kelley was recognized for winning 9 state championships over 18 years in high school football before he was named a division 2 Presbyterian college coach this past year.
However, his notoriety was not based only on winning championships, but by the way he designed the plays for his team. Kelley is known as the coach who never punts. While “never” is a slight exaggeration, he punts far less often than virtually any football coach in the U.S.
Among the doubts of many, Kelley challenged the way football is played and became what Patriots tight end Hunter Henry described as, “Football-wise, he is an innovator…“He’s an outside-the-box thinker. He’s always trying to gain an advantage. He will do whatever it takes to win. He’s a winner.” And his players follow his creativity in complete unity with his “skin in the game” kind of approach.
The playing field in which we find ourselves is marked by deep skepticism over truth and lean towards the “anything goes” worldview. This requires when we share the Good News of Jesus Christ that it be embodied and not merely something rational we adopt as a set of beliefs. God didn’t just shout out some truths out of the sky somewhere, Jesus came and put his “skin in the game,” and is calling us to do the same. This means, to have a personal investment in the purpose of Christ’s church, and therefore a vested interest in its success. It means doing whatever it takes to win!
In practice, each person who follows Christ is called to live in an experiential, communal and active way as they become part of an authentic community.
These connect to three God-given hungers that are close to the surface for people in our culture which they don’t know how to satisfy. There is a desire to go beyond what they see as normal and a passion for community that has a purpose they actually live out.
As those who would seek to engage a postmodern world with the gospel, our intention is to weave Jesus’ game plan into our everyday plays in our personal relationship with Christ and in our church life through an intentional Jesus Lifestyle.
In our new series that begins this Sunday, we will look more closely at how we are becoming a living, sharing, practicing church and how God is inviting each of us to have Skin in the Game as we face an opposing team that appears more formidable than ever. It just takes a new innovative game plan, practice and celebrating the victories we have along the way!
Let’s go team!
So, I’m asking you, my friends, that you be joined together in perfect unity—with one heart, one passion, and united in one love. Walk together with one harmonious purpose and you will fill my heart with unbounded joy. (Phil. 2:2)
With skin in the game,
Reflect: What does having “skin in the game” look like to you? What are some of the innovative ways Jesus is coaching his church, his team to win people’s hearts back to God. How does Paul’s words connect with this game plan?
Encourage: Some people haven’t taken their place on the team and are not sure of the coach. Encourage someone you know by giving them a BLESS card and inviting them to the team on Sundays, to your Life Group or other small group experience.
Gather: Discuss in your small group how Jesus’ coaching style develops his team. How does God prepare his team to live life as players so they’re prepared for Game Day? Pray for one another to find the position you are to be playing and to listen to the Coach.