I am in a Fantasy Football league through my home church, the Little Church on the Prairie.
Ever since joining the league, I’ve found myself following a bunch of teams and games that I would never have had any interest in. All because I have players on my fantasy team that are playing on those teams and in those games. I find myself tracking a half dozen games on Sundays to see how my guys are doing.
I do this because I love football and I want to win.
I’ve got a colleague, who shall remain unnamed, who never checks on his team. In fact, he regularly plays guys that aren’t even playing because their teams are on bye weeks or their injured. It’s clear that he’s not interested, and therefore he’s not engaged.
I tell you that because I think that difference tells us some things about how people approach spiritual growth.
What are some spiritual truths I’ve learned from our church Fantasy Football League?
In order to be successful in Fantasy Football, you’ve got to regularly connect to ESPN or Sports Center to see who’s playing well and who’s not. You’ve got to see who the opposing teams will be. You’ve got to keep track of injuries. You’ve got to stay on top of schedules. That’s all part of connecting.
The same is true for our spiritual maturity. There is no way we are going to grow and mature as Christians when we do not regularly connect with a local body. There ought to be a group of people who we regularly do life with, people who will pray with us and encourage us, people who will celebrate and experience life with us. We have to have a community with whom we regularly connect.
It’s by connecting in worship, bible study, or small groups with others engaged in the work and ministry of Jesus Christ that we are going to stay on top of what God is up to in our communities and how we can best engage with God where he’s already at work.
But not only do you need to connect, you’ve got to also engage. You’ve got to engage with your team. You’ve got to be committed to winning and doing well. You’ve got to do your home work. I regularly find myself analyzing my players, the defenses they will be facing, the match ups. I do my best to put in the guys I think will perform the best that particular week.
I am engaged. My colleague, who still shall remain unnamed, is clearly not.
And here’s one of the greatest spiritual lessons I’ve learned. Engagement is the result of connecting. I am engaged because I am connected. That is so true of our spiritual lives. Engagement is the byproduct of having a people, a cause, a mission, a church where we are connected.
You want people to engage, help people to connect.
Because I’ve joined a fantasy football league, and because I’m committed to winning, I find myself interested in games and teams that I would have never cared about before.
The reason why I care that the Broncos do well is because Payton Manning is my quarterback and Wes Welker is one of my receivers. The reason why I want to see the Bears dominate is because they are my defense. I don’t care about the Broncos or the Bears. In fact, I’ve never cared about the Broncos or the Bears. The only reason why I care now is because of the players on my fantasy football team.
You see, to start caring for the things that God is concerned about, and being passionate about the ministry and mission of God will only happen as we connect and engage. Investment comes as a result of our connection and engagement.
If you are not connected and engaged in your church’s ministry, you have no investment in the future of your church. You won’t care what happens.
Connect – Engage – Invest
That’s how you win fantasy football games, and I think that’s how you win in your spiritual journey.