As I was thinking about my post yesterday (see “How specialization harms the church“), I also thought about how my understanding of the church had changed over the last few years.
I remember when I once saw the church as a team with a coach (or coaches). The coach(es) trained the players, helped them learn their roles, then sent them out to play. Of course, in this view, the leaders among the church are the coaches while everyone one else is a player.
Later, my view changed slightly. I began to realize that among the church the coaches were also players. They still played an important role, but they were not just coaches; they were player-coaches. Of course, in this view, there was still a distinction between leaders (who were now player-coaches, not just coaches) and everyone else (who were still players).
Now, though, I see the church in an even different light. All are players and all are coaches. Yes, there are certainly different specializations (to use the coach/team analogy) and different levels of experience/ability. But, this doesn’t change the fact that all have the ability to coach others, and all are responsible for playing.
When we see the church as a team of player-coaches, it emphasizes several important aspects of our life in Christ that we share together.
1) We’re all equal in Christ; all are important; all are necessary.
2) At any point in time, any follower of Jesus could be a coach (leader).
3) At any point in time, any follower of Jesus could need a coach (leader).
4) Leading (coaching) is not about position or even function (since there can be leadership in different aspects of life).
5) Leading (coaching) is about helping others follow Jesus (in whatever aspect of life that is needed).
6) We all play the same game (which is not a game, but is life in Christ).
7) We all play for the same team.
8) We all play for the same owner.
9) We all take our directions (plays) from the same owner.
Obviously, every analogy fails at some point. But, what do you think of my analogy of the church as a team of player-coaches? Or do you prefer one of the other analogies that I mentioned (players with coaches or players with player-coaches)?