The Look Of Leadership In The Face Of Defeat

Last night’s Super Bowl didn’t end like they normally do. The clock was down to one second and both teams thought the game was over. The coach’s handshakes had been given, the teams were talking to each, the Gatorade had been dumped, the press was on the field, etc. Then it happened…the referees started getting everyone back to their benches because there was still one more play to run. The Giants offense and Patriots defense took their place on the field. Giants head coach Tom Coughlin was on his sidelines. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was….in the locker room. His team was on the field…and in the face of defeat he was hiding in the locker room like a childish little coward (sorry Bob, but it was true). No one is sure if it was anger, upset, disappointment or just the fact that he may have been a sore loser…but when his team needed him most…their leader(?)…Bill Belichick…was no where to be found (some speculate that he was in hiding secretly videotaping Coughlin’s final offensive call in preparation for next season’s match up).

As a pastor we have to lead everyday. It is easy to lead when everything is going well. When the attendance is growing, giving is increasing, your church’s star is on the rise in the community, baptisms are happening every week and God is blessing every day…leadership is a easy. However, when the whole world comes crashing down around you…that is when the true mark of leadership is found.

It’s easy to cast vision, recruit volunteers and develop leaders when you are winning…but it takes a true leader to stare into the face of defeat and still mount the charge anyway. People are sick of church leaders losers that bail at the first sign of trouble. They are looking for someone to follow when the chips are down…when the battle is tough…when defeat is a sure thing…yet the leader is still at the helm pushing forward. It is in those moments that people are inspired. motivated and transformed. It is also when God gets the greatest glory!!!

History has shown us that the greatest leaders motivated people to their greatest successes when it looked like all was lost. Whether is was General Douglas MacArthur’s “I shall return” when he was leaving the Philippines right before the Japanese invaded. Or naval commander John Paul Jones’ shouting “I have not yet begun to fight” when asked if he was ready to give up his ship. Or General Anthony McAuliffe’s reply of “nuts” to the Nazi’s invitation to surrender at Bastogne (my personal favorite). All of these men looked into the face of defeat…accepted their roles as leaders…and led their troops to victory. That is the mark of a great leader!!!

It’s Monday morning and the blogs are alive with posts from pastors talking about how great their services were yesterday. However…for some…it was a difficult day…a real battle. Defeat looks eminent…hardship is at hand…struggle is the only constant. It is in those moments that leaders are born. Don’t pull a “Belichick”…don’t run for the locker room. Stay in the game…lead…inspire…motivate…gain ground…do the unexpected…for victory could be just….one second away!!!

The Look Of Leadership In The Face Of Defeat

18 thoughts on “The Look Of Leadership In The Face Of Defeat

  1. Great post Chris!

    Everyone knows the vast majority of churches are struggling, and it’s high time we encourage all of us who Pastor struggling churches with more than hype and pressure to “be like Mike!” (Or whichever Mega church is the flavor of the moment).

    God bless bro!


  2. Ray says:

    another possible analogy is QB as leader – coach as God. Isn’t it comforting to know that Christ has always been there and always will be – that our “Coach” will NEVER bail on us! To God be all Honor and Glory! Its more about His Leadeship than ours. We have Faith in Him because He has already won. The outcome of our “game” is not in doubt. We may funble, drop passes, miss tackles, shank kicks, confuse pass routes, miss blocking assignments, and even demand honor and glory for a touchdown, but, our coach will NEVER bail out on us and he’ll never kick us off the team.

    Louie – Don’t look arouond for guidance and encouragement – look up. Has the pastor of the struggling chrch had more pressure than Jesus? Did that pastor have more difficult “followers” than Jesus? Is that pastor working in a more “secular” culture than Jesus? Exactly what is the pastor of the struggling church dealing with that Jesus hasn’t already defeated? Get your eyes off your circumstances and “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:14 ESV) Keep your eyes on the prize, Brother.

    Keep it real, Brothers.


  3. I’m shocked you didn’t mention my post when considering to write this. I was more shocked to see that you have a link for copywriting…

    “Minimal use of specific quotes, sentences, phrases, media or written thoughts on may used elsewhere online or in mass media with a link back to this blog or by specifically mentioning in the reproduction, reprint or redistribution.”

    In the newsroom, this is called story-diving… like dumpster-diving. It would have been appropriate for a link or some appropriation on this seeing as to how my little quip HERE was quite the same in thought, albeit minus the correlation to church planting, hours before with your acknowledgement.

    The link you chose to illustrate your story, i beat to the web by an hour.



  4. Please note that I have updated my initial blog post to “apologize” to Erick for “dumpster-diving” and to place a link to his initial blog post from last night.


  5. no matter how little the audience or the voice, appropriation is still warranted. Thanks for making the update, I would hope that if I, or anyone else in your audience, chose to use your materials with out credit you would hold us accountable. I even trust that you would since you have had a series of issues in the past with your thoughts and hard work being taken at no credit due, albeit inspiration or just plain plagiarism.

    As for the newsroom statement, I was sharing with you what it is called, I didn’t expect for you to know the term nor understand it initially so I related it to something all are familiar with. I have been dumpster diving before, so no stone was being thrown. Also, there is a difference here than plagiarism that’s why its called “diving.” Meaning one gets inspired and takes the initial concept then spins it (not altering or manipulating like fox or the media) but for a different audience and topical theme. It is still respectful to cite the initial thing that sparked thought.

    I do appreciate the update, but I think you took my comment to be ugly or abusive, I’m sorry for not proofreading it for tone of voice. I do wish your update weren’t more for heckling me in asking to be cited, but I guess we get what we ask for these days. Touche’.



  6. Wow Chris, I wonder if Erick’s comments have anything to do with your recent post on a recent milestone for the website? I, of course, made sure to correctly cite your blog post. I was, however, inspired to make this comment by another blogger.

    On a serious note, though, Great synopsis and analogy. I felt it was a shame the way the last second was handled. The patriots even looked lost in trying to organize for that last play. My church (shameless linkage there) is studying Revelation right now, and it truly is a testament to how God keeps giving us one more second on the clock to repent. He holds off judgement until the very last possible moment. Thanks for your thoughts on the bowl, and forgive the playful jabbing at our friend Erick.


  7. Erick – I was heckling you for the complete ridiculous nature of your comment. Your post was one of many that stated the same conclusion about Belichick’s walking off the field…yet you somehow felt you had a corner on the market of that thought because you were first to blog about it. In all honesty, your blog post was NOT the inspiration for my post…it was this one:

    Yes, I did comment on your blog last night…about a football game and a coach’s action. I recognized your comments about Belichick’s poor leadership…but I never put it together with church planting or leadership until I read C..J. Mahaney’s blog post this morning – which, at no time did you ever make that connection. I never reprinted any exact quotes or words that you or Mahaney posted (thus your shots at my copyright rules do not hold water)…nor did I ever feel that your blog post inspired me enough to give it credit. It inspired me to comment about a coach’s behavior…not to write a blog post.

    To set the record straight…

    1. Having written for many newspapers and magazines over the years I am very aware of what the term “story-diving” means. Thank you, however for indulging my perceived ignorance.

    2. I have yet to hear from C.J. about my “story-diving” off of his blog post and not crediting him. He’s a pretty big voice…so I best be careful.


  8. Ray says:

    I don’t know if this means anything or not, but my old daddy used to say.”Never rassel with a pig – you’ll both get muddy, but only the pig’l enjoy it.”


  9. Ray – I’m probably the pig here. Erick planted a church in Lakeland…now he is ministering in New York. We’ve been rattling each other’s cages for a while now. I’ve never really been one to swing at a pitch in the dirt…but I’ve also never been one to let one hit me. 🙂


  10. Ray says:

    I think Brother Erick might have embarrassed himself. Don’t go away mad Erick. We’ve all done that a time or two. Open mouth – insert Lombardi Trophy.

    Oh Wait!! Erick is from New York? Well, perhaps winning can reveal qualities of character just as much as loosing did for Belichick (props to Erick for my use of the words Belichick, winning, loosing, and New York all of which he used in his post before I used them in this comment thread. Just in case, I’ll throw in the words embarrassed and Lombardi Trophy, too).


  11. Ray, please don’t insult or patronize me by calling me Brother. I’m obviously the farthest thing from brothers with you. You have cajoled me to respond.

    Embarrassment comes from being an halfwit and kicking one when down, which might be how you treat brothers where you’re from or in the Bible you read, but not for me. I simply said that my approach to asking Chris for appropriation to my post, which is how he would want others act, would be nice and appreciated in return. As for taking it to this level of demeaning one’s apology and ridiculing them, there’s seriously a disconnect within you.

    I stand by my words when I said “I do appreciate the update, but I think you took my comment to be ugly or abusive, I’m sorry for not proofreading it for tone of voice. I do wish your update weren’t more for heckling me in asking to be cited, but I guess we get what we ask for these days. Touche’.

    As for unsubscribing from the blog, as you can both take notice it was a preemptive pinky tap on the return key because it ended in “for” I was hashing out my thoughts


  12. OK guys…I think we’ve raked Erick over the coals long enough. He and I rarely see eye-to-eye…but I know him to be a man sold out to God’s calling in his life. He left a successful church plant here in Lakeland to go start a new work in New York. That takes some real obedience to God…not to mention some pretty big faith. Besides…you’ve got to give him some credit…after all…he was pulling for the Giants last night!!!


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