About Me

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New Orleans, LA, United States
Family from South Africa, Born in New Orleans, Lived in South Carolina. Married to Annabeth since May 2004. We have three boys (Bolt, Mack, and Birk). Currently living in Uptown NOLA and serving as Lead Pastor of Vintage Church and Camp Pastor of Student MissionLab.

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Star or Champion?

Based upon the title of this blog, where would you place Michael Jordan? Most would say that he is a champion. Six NBA championships is a good way to solidify yourself in that category. However there was a time when Michael Jordan was only a star. Jordan's first seven years were filled with a lot of individual awards. Rookie of the year, slam dunk champion, scoring title, most valuable player, etc. No championship rings. In the 1989 NBA season the Chicago Bulls brought in a coach named Phil Jackson. Phil Jackson changed the environment, implemented a new philosophy, and empowered his "star" player to thrive in this new system. Result: Six NBA championships in eight years.

Over the last three years God has taught me a lot through planting a church. I have studied a lot of different books, church leaders, church models, etc. Obviously man doesn’t grow the church. Only the work and power of the Holy Spirit can make that happen. However, man does have a responsibility to lead and discern the Holy Spirit’s will. God delights in using man to lead His church.

After looking at many different examples of growing churches I have come to one major conclusion. The most successful churches have a leadership team that has united around a common vision. This vision might not be the most organized, it might not be the sexiest, it might not be the most cutting edge, it might not be the most organic, it might not be the most missional...but the leadership team is unified around this common vision.

My leadership team took a trip to a church family that has blown up over the last few months. We were so excited to learn and receive inspiration from them. To be honest we left a little surprised. This church is over 4 times the size of our church family but we are ahead of them with some of our systems. I couldn’t believe that the Lead Pastor didn’t even really have an office. He told me that he does most of his sermon prep in his truck. As much as this shocked us, it was very clear what made this church family so contagious. Their leadership team had a unified bond and passion for each other and the vision that God had given them. Every person on their staff was completely sold out to it.

It really doesn’t matter how many stars you and your team recruit. If those stars don’t sell out to a common vision, you won’t win a championship. When Phil Jackson showed up to coach the Bulls, Michael Jordan had a choice. He could either continue to do his own thing and win a few more personal awards, or he could die to himself for the success of the team. Because Jordan bought in to the coaching philosophy of his coach, he became a champion. The great part about this story is that because Jordan did this, he not only became a champion but also one of the greatest (if not the greatest) players to ever play the game. I love this above picture of Michael Jordan. This was taken after he won his first championship. What made Michael the greatest was his passion for something greater than himself. The greatest in the world always accomplish more than personal glory, they help a lot of others win as well.

Challenge to the Star:
I know you are a stud. I know that you have crazy talent. You can either choose self-glorification that is temporary and great or you can choose team-glorification that is eternal and the greatest. Trade in those scoring titles and slam dunk championships for an NBA title. Find a team that you can serve in order that many people will be impacted. They need you and you need them.

Challenge to the Coach:
Don’t just put a system together for the sake of a system. Study your team and recognize your stars. You need them. Phil Jackson is nothing without a Michael Jordan or a Kobe Bryant. Implement a philosophy that your team loves and empower them to thrive. Never sacrifice for one star over the team, rather inspire your star to join and sacrifice for the team. Be confident in your decisions and win a championship.

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