Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Horse or the Rider?

Like many of you, I made sure I was in front of a television on Saturday evening. I was out with friends but made it a point to perch myself near a screen so I could see horses race at the Kentucky Derby. At the end of the two minute race, I stood in awe and wonder as Calvin Borel won his third Derby in four years at Churchhill Downs. Once again, Borel came from behind on a horse that was not the most favored to win in order to prove that anything can happen.

When the race was over and Borel had kissed what seemed to be everyone with whom he came in contact, I sat and wondered. Is it the horse or is it the rider? Is it the horse that enables one to win the Kentucky Derby or is it that rider that enables one to win the Kentucky Derby? Who is most responsible for the win?

Last year I was talking with a friend of mine whose son had recently been appointed to a different church. When I inquired about his son's appointment I was told, "He's serving a church that is in great need of resurrection and it is going to take a lot longer than three days for it to happen." I laughed. But, I cannot help but to think about these words.

When it comes to the church, there are all kinds of communities that are in need of resurrection. It is more common for a church to be in decline than it is for a church to be growing. Churches receiving new members are an exception and not the norm. And I wonder. Is it the horse or the rider?

I have often heard statements that lead me to believe that it is the horse. Many of my colleagues make statements about how there is no way a certain church is ever going to grow.
The people are too set in their ways. No one is moving in around our church. The neighborhood has changed. People just don't go to church like they used to. How can the bishop expect this church to grow? Seriously, this church is believed to be able to grow? I don't know why anyone would want to join this church.

Calvin Borel has demonstrated to the world of horse racing that anything is possible. Not once and not twice but three times Borel has brought a horse through the finish line earlier than the horse was believed to be capable of crossing. Borel has demonstrated great skill when it comes to communicating and motivating a horse. Borel has done what was thought to be impossible. It did not appear that he would win on Saturday...until the very end.

Can we as pastors learn anything from Borel?

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