“Don’t sweat the small stuff.” If you are anything at all like me, or most humans, you have heard (maybe even made) that statement more times than you can count. Unfortunately, for those who aspire to be champions, there is one fatal flaw: it is wrong!
Champions become CHAMPIONS by paying significant attention to EVERY detail, regardless of how small or trivial it seems. Paying attention to detail sets champions apart from those who are mediocre. Herm Edwards, former coach of the New York Jets football team, eloquently details why we do what we do in this short video clip you can see here.. No one ever does something with the desire to merely be mediocre…certainly not champions.
A few years ago, I tried this new fitness thing called CrossFit. If you haven’t heard of it, I am sure that it is from the devil himself. It is BRUTAL. I thought I was in relatively good shape when I attempted this “sport.” A short 20 minutes into the session, I was begging the instructor to either stop or for the Lord to take me home! It was miserable. I learned some VERY valuable lessons that day though. The instructor focused on EVERY SINGLE DETAIL of each of my lifts. He deconstructed what I had been doing, and reconstructed my movements and muscle engagements in the way that my body was designed to move. The results? Yes, I still puked, but as I continued to pay attention to every detail, I got SIGNIFICANTLY stronger. I learned that day to sweat the small stuff, to pay attention to detail!
The same is true in our Life Group ministry. It is easy to take off on a “play,” or expect another team member to pick up the slack. That is when mistakes are made and people get hurt in football…and in church. For us to be champions, we MUST pay attention to every detail!
In the video referenced above, a football coach made the statement that you play to win the game. I think we would all agree that what God has called us to is MUCH more important than a game! God has called us to be champions in the lives of the those to whom we are called to serve.
What are the details to which we must pay such attention? I’m glad you asked. We must make sure every person on our roll is contacted weekly. This shows that we care if they are here or not. It is easy to adopt the view that people know their responsibilities and they should be mature enough to do them. Reality check: you’re right, but human nature causes people to slack. We must contact them.
In addition to contacting our rolls, it is IMPERATIVE that we foster an atmosphere for healthy fellowship in our groups. Student ministry is notorious for having cliques. Some of that is simply the natural occurrence of those who share similar interests aligning with one another. It is imperative, however, that we do our VERY best to create atmospheres where ALL our students feel welcome, included, loved, and as though they belong to our group.
Yet another detail to which we must pay attention is preparation. Our students know when we walk in and give them a “Saturday night special.” They know when we are prepared. No champion goes onto the field without first having practiced and prepared all week. Neither should we.
One thing I have learned over the course of my ministry is that if we expect outreach to occur organically, then we really do not expect outreach to occur. It is VITAL that we pay attention to our outreach efforts. This includes our GROW visitation as well as other forms of outreach used in your group. This detail is often overlooked because it is easy to expect momentum from one event or ministry to carry over into our Life Groups, but champions do not let ANY detail go unnoticed.
The time is now. The stakes are high. The cause is worthy. It is time to no longer settle for mediocrity. God has called us to be (and made us to be) champions (Romans 8:37). Sweat the small stuff and be a champion for Christ, your Life Group, and our ministry. You, your students, and our ministry will be better for it. Champions have a way of infecting all those around them!