In part 1, I encouraged you to ponder about the structure of you ministry, to consider, like Goldilocks and the three bears, “Is it too little, too much, or just right?”
Let’s assume that you have just the right amount – an endoskeleton – that facilitates mission accomplishment. Now I want you to ask:
What does this structure actually look like?
As I have thought about this question, I would suggest the following answer:
To successfully accomplish the mission of Gospel-Centered Sports Ministry, your ministry needs to look like a fully orbed NFL Team.
While an NFL Team typically has one owner, there are many other people involved in the success of that team playing the “game” of football. Those people could be broken down into the on-the-field operations and the off-the-field operations.
Off-the-field operations would include things like finances, marketing, field operations, equipment purchase, contracts. The people responsible for off-the-field operations is typically headed up by a person called the General Manager.
On-the-field operations would include player development and actual game-time player management. The people responsible for on-the-field operations is called the Head Coach.
While some Head Coaches want to become also the General Manager so they can control player drafting, this Head Coach/GM combination is very seldom successful – because of the scope of the job.
Now back to the Sports Ministers I run across. Most if not all are very overwhelmed with the day to day responsibilities of their jobs. When I draw out the typical structure of an NFL Team with these two areas – on-the-field and off-the field – (see diagram below) they see the reason they are overwhelmed.
They are either
- Operating as both the GM and Head Coach
- Coaching with little to no assistant coaches
- or both!!!!
If there are operating as a GM/Head Coach, they see they are are overwhelmed with the off-the-field operations – field preparation, team assignments, equipment procurement, registration, and all the myriad of other things that go on before a single game is played – and the combination with all the on-the-field operations.
If they are the Head Coach with few or no assistant coaches, they see that they are are overwhelmed by trying to “coach” a team of 30 or more players (In this metaphor, the “players” in the “game” of Sports Ministry are those who are actually advancing the mission, moving the ministry down the field – like coaches of youth or adult players or adults from your church in leagues.)
Take a look at the typical coaching structure for an NFL Team – Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator, Defensive Coordinator, Special Teams Coordinator, Assistant Coaches and Position Coaches for Offense, Defense, and Special Teams. Count them up and you end up with a coach to player ration of something like 1-4 or 5. Quite a difference from the 1-30,50, 80 ratio I run across in Sports Ministers.
What would you say to a Sports Minister who is trying the
- Head Coach/GM model?
- Head Coach with few or no assistant coaches?
You might say
- Recruit qualified help in the off-the-field operations to free you up to coach (since this is the Sports Ministers #1 job according to Ephesians 4:11, 12)
- Recruit assistant coaches to help you develop your “players”
- Give up on really accomplishing your mission
- Draft only #1 draft players who need no development
Since the last two are not really options, the first two are where we point Sports Ministers.
So, where are you and your ministry structure with relation to the typical NFL team?
Take this diagram and show it to your leaders – church and ministry – and ask them what they think. Ask them how you are doing? Ask them what steps you could take to make this model preferred model more of a reality.
For assistance in developing this NFL model at your church, contact CSO. This is one of the key reasons God has called us to the Sports Ministry movement.