Spiritual Lessons from the NE Patriots

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I was just sitting here watching the Patriots finish up an undefeated season in winning the AFC championship.  With just one more win in the Super Bowl, they will finish a perfect season while achieving their ultimate goal.  Regardless of whether you are a fan of the Patriots or not, there is a lot to learn from their accomplishment so far. 

1.  When people understand the value of “TEAM”, amazing things happen.  There is no question that NE is loaded with superstar players, but I have been impressed time and again this season by the way the “superstars” defer to the team.  Even the malcontent Randy Moss has bought into the concept…maybe for the first time in his career.  Moss has been such a source of dissension everywhere he has been that I have refused to ever draft him on any of my Fantasy Football teams.  (That little statement of integrity on my part cost me dearly this year since I could have drafted him…I find it interesting that our Associate Head Coach at The Grove not only drafted Moss but the other malcontent, Terrell Owens ….hmmmm….maybe a sign of something I need to stay aware of).  Anyway, for the first time that I can remember, Moss not only performed at high levels, but he never complained when things didn’t seem to be going his way.  The Patriots have been very successful at building a culture of ‘TEAM’.  I’d like to suggest what I believe is a helpful definition of TEAM:

     T– ogether  E– veryone  A– chieves  M– ore

There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it….”all of usis better thanone of us“.  The Patriots have convinced every player on their team to accept that as their reality and it shows up in their success together.  How much more effective for the kingdom of God would our churches be if we could convince all Christians to buy into the same reality?

2.   A perfect season does not mean that each person played a perfect game.  In fact, coaches found lots of things to critique about individual efforts after each game.  But that goes to further demonstrate the value of team.  When one person was at less than their best, the others would rise to the occasion.  There was no finger-pointing…no name-calling…no accusations.  There was just a simple but profound commitment to carrying each others load for the benefit of all.  Wouldn’t that be a great environment in church?

3.  No resting on past accomplishments.  A football season is 17 weeks long with 16 games played in that span.  That’s before the playoffs.   But winning one game does not guarantee a win in the following game.  Just because a team was successful together once, doesn’t mean they will be again.  Each game rests on it’s on merits.  There is no carryover…there is no extra credit for a job well done previously.  A team that tries to live on past victories will ultimately wind up losing.  The Patriots were always pressing forward this year.  They were never willing to settle for what they had already done being “good enough”. 

How many of us would prefer to just live on past history?  It’s tiring always looking forward…but look at the reward.  And what about our churches?  How many have become museums of past accomplishment with little to point to in the present? 

Our personal lives and our churches could learn a lot from the Patriots this year. 

Now if the Packers can just put away those pesky NY Giants…go Brett Favre. 

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