March Madness: A Challenge to Potential DC’ers and Ministries Considering DC
Most of the year, I don’t watch much sports on TV. But that changes in March with NCAA basketball. I really enjoy “March Madness”. Keen competition, impressive athleticism, noisy arenas, compelling storylines, fantastic plays, great endings. March Madness has it all!
But as I watch, certain things drive me crazy. The center who shoots 50% from the free throw line all season—and misses six of eight in a close game. The small forward who can’t dribble to the left—easily defended and frequently trapped. The guard who repeatedly fails to move his feet on defense—and draws cheap fouls.
Why do these players struggle? Not enough good practice and a lot of bad practice. All of these habits can be overcome—by working hard and working smart, by avoiding laziness and embracing perseverance, by teaming up with a good coach and encouraging peers. Too often, players don’t reach their potential because they don’t get in the real game—the game before The Game—doing the little things in practice that will enable them to be successful in The Game.
The same is true in the spiritual arena. Do you miss the “free throws” of life? Do you squander easy opportunities when you could be successful with modest practice? How are you at “going to the left”? When you’re on offense in life, are you able to handle various situations—or do you find yourself repeatedly trapped by the same problems? Do you play good defense in life—against your sin nature, the world, and the devil? Or are you out-of-shape and lazy—reaching, slapping at the ball, committing silly fouls?
How do you improve your spiritual game? First, you have to decide to get off the bench. Hopefully, your church offers a number of ways to work on your overall game or the areas where you’re weakest.
Maybe you need to step into intramurals. If so, get your toes wet with a quarterly service project—or risk pulling a muscle by joining a light, large-group Bible study.
Or maybe you should join a Division II team. This would be anything from Bible studies to book studies on particular topics like parenting, from “lower-level” small groups that require little effort to “upper-level” small groups that require more work. Or maybe you can run a DC28:20—Getting Equipped group. It’s 36 weeks, requiring about two hours of study per week.
Or maybe you’re ready to join a Division I team—like DC: Thoroughly Equipped. DC is 21 months long and requires about five hours of homework each week and a weekly meeting. It is a program of Bible memory, Bible reading, and Bible study. It is meant to deepen people in their walk with Christ and to develop lay-leaders within the Church.
In any case, resolve to take steps to become a better player. There’s too much at stake not to be in the game—and at the top of your game.