Archive for October, 2010

Have you ever seen the movie, The Replacements? It’s an interesting movie starring Keanu Reeves and Gene Hackman.  There are a bunch of other people you might recognize in it, but those guys play the two main characters.  The movie is a sports comedy about a fictitious football team in a league where the players decided to strike against the team owners for more money. The teams hire replacement players to continue the season while the regular players are on strike.  It’s another jab at professional athletes and their ever-increasing greed, but it’s a good, simple, fun movie.  It does have a little bit of language and some sexuality in it, so be careful if you have little kids in the room.

There are a couple of lines in it that really resonate with me, though, and both are by Gene Hackman’s character, Jimmy McGinty.  McGinty is the coach of this team of has-beens and almost-could-have-beens.  I will deal with the first one in this post, and I’ll make a different post for the second one later.  I need to try to keep these posts as short as I can.

The first line comes at a point where the team is beginning to question themselves.  With other teams’ players returning to the gridiron, the replacement players are a little overwhelmed.  They see the professional players as inherently better.  Obviously they must be better players, since they’re paid to play.  Right?  I can relate, to some extent.  I am an unpaid volunteer at my church, working with youth, young adults and playing on the worship team.  I have been in leadership roles within the church for years, and I have a very good relationship with both the youth pastor and the senior pastor.  I am pretty much left on my own to lead teenagers and oversee the whole young adult ministry.  But I’m not a paid pastor.  I am not a replacement player, but I sometimes feel like a second class citizen when it comes to ministry.  I tend to leave a lot to the paid professionals, and sit the bench when the real players come around.  The first quote I’m going to deal with comes at the point of the story where the replacements are feeling unfit to play.  Where they feel like they’re unwanted, under-trained and expendable.  Hackman, as McGinty comes through with this quote:  “… as of today, you’re all professional football players. You’re being paid to play, and I want to you to remember that, because the men whose places you’ve taken forgot that a long time ago. Let’s bring it in. Let’s play some football.”

That quote always hits me hard.  I may be an actual volunteer (thus not receiving a paycheck) but I am a minister.  I am in ministry.  I have the degree, I’ve put in my time, I am in the role.  I’ve been there for the ups and the downs of many teenagers and young adults.  I’ve heard the tears of many, shared the laughs of even more.  I have hugged the pain away, and high-fived the victors.  I am a minister.  Whether or not I am paid to shepherd, teach, lead and love those around me, it is still my calling, and it is my life.  I need to remember that.  It’s not about the money (some people make quite a paycheck to preach), or the power, or the fame.  While some may have forgotten the true calling a long time ago, I don’t want to forget.  Sometimes we need a little reminder of why we do what we do.  Sometimes we need a little kick in the pants, so to speak.  I am grateful for those in my life who can tell me to bring it in and play ball.

Hopefully you have someone who, like a good coach, can inspire and motivate you to do better than you think you can.  We all need people who see our potential even when we can’t.  Find someone to mentor you, it’s worth the trouble.