Many Christians come to church on Sunday, expecting to hear a “deep” message. But I try to give a “clear” message. It is because I see Sunday as “Game Time.”
In professional sports, Game Time is when so many things are on the line. Professional athletes play for the playoff, awards, TV-rating, and, most importantly, for better contracts. For viewers, it might be just another game, but for players, their future is on the line. Because there are so many things going on in their minds, it takes a great coach to clear their heads so that they can win.
But one time, I overheard great basketball coaches coaching during a time-out, and I was a bit disappointed. All they said were simple instructions such as, “Play defence!”, “Move the ball!” “Communicate!” I almost felt like I could become the coach and get paid. But with tremendous expertise and experience in basketball, they seem to know what cues to give to win games. Then I realized, during Game Time, great coaches give great cues, not lectures. Because they know that during the game time, application wins, not knowledge.
When I prepare a Sunday message, I imagine my church members being in the game. It is not the time to lecture them or give too much information. It will only confuse them. On Sunday, I assume that their faith, marriage, kids, finance, dating, sexual health, mental sanity are on the line. I can help them win on Monday, or lose on Monday. As exaggerated as it may sound, this is how I prepare my message and helps me to pray with a sense of urgency.
That is why on Sunday, I assume the role of a coach. So, I “remind” our members what they might already know but haven’t practiced. I try to provide a fresh presentation to the unchanging message of the gospel of Christ.
You might ask, “Then, we don’t ever need detailed information?” Of course, we do! Coaches give lectures during the film session. They break down the game, one sequence at a time, telling players what they need to differently next game in detail. This is the moment you teach philosophy and principles. In that sense, Life series bible study would be like a film session. That’s when we breakdown Christian life in more detail, give lectures, explain principles, and have a discussion, and so on.
But Sunday is not a time for that because it is Game Time. There are so many things happening in people’s minds, and their lives are on the line. It is not a time for lecture, but a clear cue for life-altering, life-winning decisions for the week.