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Leading Saints and Leatherheads

April 13, 2010

Sometimes, we can draw parallels between sports and spirituality.  As I was reading a copy of Practical Football: A Manual for Coaches, Players, and Students of the Game (1934) by former Princeton University and University of Michigan football coach, H. O. “Fritz” Crisler (“the father of two-platoon football” and the man who created the famous winged helmets which the Wolverines have worn ever since!), I was reminded that a good pastor can learn a thing or two about leading men (or women and children as the case may be) from unlikely sources.  Not only is Crisler’s manual (co-authored by his successor at Princeton, E. E. Wieman) a good introduction on the principles of blocking, tackling, and line play, but it speaks to the soul of everyman who lines up on life’s line of scrimmage preparing to get popped in the jaw.  Coaches Crisler and Wieman write:

No two men are exactly alike.  Each is an individual human being and the coach must know him as a person. . . . The best way to handle one man may be the worst way to handle another.  Some men must be “ridden” to get the best work from them.  Other men need encouraging and will have their spirit broken if too often criticized. . . . The coach must be most careful in his criticism and commendation.  He should not make general sweeping criticisms unless they apply to everyone.  Nothing takes the heart out of a man more than to be criticized for something which he knows he did properly.  Much correction is necessary and no coach should hesitate to criticize freely, but he should be sure that the criticism is applicable.  He should pick out the men who are at fault, tell them their mistakes, and what they should have done.  He should be particular and specific and should not “ride” the whole squad when there are only two or three men at fault.

Pages 238-240

How often do pastors damage their ministry by condemning the whole of their flock when only a few of the sheep need to be sheared?

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 13, 2010 5:06 pm

    It’s a sporting trend here at Standing on Shoulders!

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