Disgusting is much too kind of a description for it. Pathetically horrific might be better.
Recently I took my 7 year old son to his baseball game. We got there early and were able to watch some of the game before his, which was also of 7 and 8 year olds.
The team out in the field was “in it to win it”. They had 5! coaches along the baseline, each apparently in charge of a different position. The kept repositioning the kids 3 inches forward or back while yelling at the kids to “pay attention” and “look alive out there”. Base hits by the opposing team were instantly greeted with further yelling, threats of sitting on the bench, and questions about the kids’ “manhood”. The irony.
When their time came to bat, all hell broke loose. I don’t use the word “hell” lightly. As each kid got to the batter’s box, he was given a lecture about how he was batting for his spot in the lineup, how failure wouldn’t be tolerated, and how fun should be saved for later. It was work time now. The coaches’ mouths packed quite a punch. Apparently, it’s the only place these coaches were packing.
The parents were no better. They complained about every call, cheered when the other team mad bad plays, and stomped their feet like two year olds having a tantrum. I was tempted to pass out pacifiers.
The other team, while losing badly was having a delightful time. Their parents were cheering them on and their coaches applauded the kids throughout the game. These kids were having a blast! Smiles that were conspicuously missing from the winning team were worn in abundance by the team getting crushed.
As I watched these coaches, parents, and kids I was reminded of two important things: 1) how thankful I’ve been this spring for my kids’ wonderful coaches who care about them and are teaching them the joy of fun in sports, and (2) how organizations, including churches, tend to follow in the footsteps of their leaders.
As one of the leaders of New Story Church, I’m glad to make us these promises:
- We will never take ourselves too seriously. Church can and should be fun, even while we’re doing really important work.
- We will always be a church that builds people up instead of tears them down.
- We will always cheer you on, no matter how far you may have fallen.
- We’ll be there to pick you up no matter how many times you strike out.
But most importantly, we’ll make sure that the Leader we always follow is God. The One who teaches us that every moment in life is way too valuable to waste yelling. Especially at kids trying to have fun.