In a recent devotional written for the Smyth and Helwys publication Reflections, Bruce Lampert tells this story about legendary Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.
Someone asked Bryant the secret of this success. He pointed out that there was not secret. “I’m just an old plow hand, but I have learned how to hold a team together—to lift some up and calm others down—until finally, as a team, we’ve got just one heartbeat. So there are just three things I would say. If anything goes bad, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, we did it. If anything goes real good, you did it. That’s all it takes to get people to win football games for you.”
Allowing for a little false modesty on the coach’s part, he has identified a key ingredient to team success—alignment. We may have different gifts and strengths, but we can learn to work together and pull in the same direction. Of course, this means that each of us must be willing to pull our share of the load!
The real challenge in any church is getting everyone moving in the same direction! One thing that facilitates this is a leader who doesn’t feel that he or she should get all the credit for success. An effective leader knows how to nudge, coax, and even pressure participants to move in a certain direction without abusing them. If done correctly, when it is all over they will say (in the words of the old Chinese proverb), “We did it ourselves.”