03 November 2005

The Joe Morgan Theory of Ministry

Growing up in West Virginia my baseball heart always called Cincinatti home. How many hours did my ears soak up the voice of Joe Nuxhall and Marty Brennaman? How many times did I dream I would rise from my catching crouch and throw out a runner attempting to steal second jus like Johnny Bench? How many times did I hear Joe Morgan simply say: "See the ball, hit the ball." That phrase from Joe Morgan stuck with me. I used it as my theology of ministry as I left seminary. But I didnt really grasp it till the other day. In ministry you dont try to pull an outside pitch into left field, you hit a ball down the line into right field. You see the ball and hit the ball.

The other day the church I served changed the times we worship and offer Sunday School. After this change we noticed that we lost several kids but gained a whole bunch of adults. I cringed at the sight of empty child classrooms and frustrated teachers but delighted in the overflowing room of adults. My natural inclination was to force the issue and get the kids back (aka trying to pull and outside pitch). But I saw the ball (a room full of adults) and hit the ball (prepared the best bible study I could.)

Last Sunday the new Sunday School superintendent went around and asked adults to teach classes and asked kids to commit to Sunday School. (Sometimes you have to pull an outside pitch to move the runner or score a run) As always, every metaphor has its limits. But overall I still think the see the ball hit the ball approach works at least 68% of the time.

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