In July 1961, the Green Bay Packers headed to training camp still licking their wounds from a narrow 4 point loss in the championship game the year before. The Packers literally had just come up a few yards short of the title. As they sat together for their first team meeting of the new season, no doubt players were wondering what their legendary coach, Vince Lombardi, would do to make them good enough to win the championship? Would he add a trick play? Install a new offense? Change the defense to a 4-3?
Anticipation filled the air as Lombardi stood in front of his team. Much to the surprise of his squad, Lombardi held up a football and famously said,
“Gentlemen, this is a football.”
Starting with the absolute basics, Lombardi went back to ground zero to remind his team of the fundamentals they needed in order to win the title. After going on for a few minutes with this basic rhetoric, Max McGee (his all pro wide receiver) spoke up and said sarcastically, “slow down coach, you’re going too fast!”
While Lombardi’s speech was basic, it was needed. A return to the fundamentals at the center (not innovation on the edges) was what the team required to take the next step. What makes Lombardi’s speech so memorable today (some 59 years later) is that the Packers went on to win the championship that season … the first of 5 titles Lombardi’s Packers won in the 1960s.
Last Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, we kicked off a new sermon series called “5 Follows.” This series is designed to help all of us grow in our faith along life’s road this year. When it comes to spiritual growth, we often wonder what special trick or magical ceremony we must master in order to unlock growth in our spiritual lives. In pursuit of that goal, many people come up with a “new offense” (i.e. find a new church), change to a “new defense” (buy a new book from Mardel), or add a “trick play” to the playbook (experience some new spiritual phenomena promised to be the miracle cure.)
After nearly a quarter century of pastoral ministry, and 30+ years of personal experience walking with God, I can honestly say there are no trick plays or short cuts. But in Christ, there are some fundamentals that God often uses to grow our faith in Him and our love for others. This Sunday, we will be looking at one of those fundamentals. In a sense, this Sunday I will be holding up a book and saying:
“Church, this is a Bible.”
Inside it we will find hope for spiritual growth in the year ahead. I would love to have you join us on this journey as we drive this road together. Hope to see you in one of our worship services this weekend:
- 9:00, 10:15, 11:30AM (in-person in the worship center … with children’s ministry running all 3 hours, and student ministry running during 9:00 and 10:15)
- 8:00 AM – Outdoor Chapel
- 10:15 Livestream – wildwoodchurch.org/live
Hope to see you Sunday as we review the fundamentals together in pursuit of growth in the new (school/ministry) year!