NACP President Dan Ramsey offers a play book with an emphasis on the offense.
My son, don’t forget my instruction. Let your heart guard my commands, because they will help you live a long time and provide you with well-being. Don’t let loyalty and faithfulness leave you. Bind them on your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will find favor and approval in the eyes of God and humanity. Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t rely on your own intelligence. Know Him in all your paths, and He will keep your ways straight.
–– Proverbs 3:1-6 (CEB)
Two of my adult children are coaches. My daughter, Staci, is a softball coach at the University of Massachusetts; my oldest son, Danny, is the head coach of a Texas high school football team.
My daughter will tell you that offense in softball is all about hitting the ball where there are no players. If you don’t hit or put somebody on base, you can’t score.
It’s all about the offense.
You might think that pitching a no hitter is better than scoring on offense. That’s not true. I’ve seen many times where pitchers have thrown a no hitter and lost the game 1-0 or 2-0. That was because somebody on offense got on base by an error or walked and then scored.
It’s all about the offense.
The same is true in football. My son will tell you it’s all about the offense.
In football the defense is reactive as opposed to the offense who is proactive. The offense knows which direction they want to go. The defense has to react to the offense.
The defense is actually holding ground where the offense is taking ground. The offense is advancing.
The defense starts at the weakness of the offense. The offense moves towards its strength.
The offense controls the pace–– huddle or no huddle. The defense is at the mercy of the pace set by the offense.
And finally the offense always has the ball. If they recover a fumble or intercept a pass, they become the offense.
This analogy is true in life.
Defensively, we sit back and wait for things to happen, but when we back up, we go places we might not want to go.
Offensively, we run over the things that have been running over us.
Remember on offense we have the greatest play caller of all times. The only coach we will ever need.
Who doesn’t want Jesus Christ as their coach and quarterback? And the playbook, the Bible, has all of the answers. What a playbook.
The offense is aggressive in making disciples for Jesus Christ. We need to move forward in our ministry instead of sitting back and waiting for something to happen, and then hoping it is positive.
Locker room pep talk
Speaking as a locker room coach, I want to give you four things to help you address challenges in your lives and ministry.
Here’s the game plan:
1. Communicate with God!––I mean get down on your knees and speak to Him like you’re talking to your best friend. He knows your challenges, your faults, your strengths and your weaknesses. Spend some silent time every day. Get somewhere that you can block out everything around you and just have silence. Get your heart right with God. That will bless you and help you in every challenge you face. Try it––you will be amazed how it makes a difference in your life. My coaches tell me that before they go out for the competition. They purposely spend several minutes of quiet time. Players and coaches alike. If your heart is not right you will always be faced with defeat. Things like why are our numbers so low? Why aren’t people responding favorably to this ministry? What did we do or not do right? Instead change the focus from the wrong things to successful things no matter how small. Remember get your heart right every day!
2. Get into the Word! I mean the Bible! It has all of the answers. We men have a bad habit of not following instructions. You know what I mean? Come on now. How many times have you sat up late putting toys together and not using the instructions? Yes you know you set up until 3 a.m. putting something together only to have left over parts and pieces. Or, you put things together only to find out the legs are backward. Or how about driving to some new location without looking at a map and getting lost. Yeh, I know, I don’t need no stinking map. Going miles in the wrong direction instead of stopping and asking someone for the right road to go on. The Bible is “the Book”. It has all of the answers. A good Bible study with an accountability group. So you can share the right answers. That time to share you closest to God moment for the week. The Word is what we need to see and live by.
3. Respond to God’s call! Remember it is His call and not your call. Acknowledge God and his presence. Ministry is a calling. Making disciples for Jesus Christ is a calling. Make your job a calling. Work where God wants you to be. Being a mentor is a calling, being a parent or grandparent is a calling. Change the culture of setting back and waiting for things to change. Change the bad habit. Remember if you change your heart, your bad habits will change. Your life will change and everyone around you will change.
4. And finally, don’t ever give up! Many of you have been in the military and have had survival training. My training as a Houston Police officer stressed survival training on a grand scale. No matter what situation you’re in, don’t ever give up. Fight all the way through to the end. They always told us the goal is to always finish so you can go home. Your life and ministry is like that that. You strive to make it home. You long for the day when God calls you home. You want to be there. Finish the game. Play all of four quarters; finish the ninth inning. Never give up. You always have something to contribute until the time God calls us home.
So, there you have it: communicate with God; read the Word; respond to the call; and never give up.
It’s show time––get out there and move forward!
Dan Ramsey, president
National Association of Conference Presidents
This article is part of a bimonthly e-letter to leaders of UM Men. Other articles in the February letter may be found at: