Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Building a Legacy of Success

The Los Angeles Kings became champions of the National Hockey League this year, winning the Stanley Cup by beating the New York Rangers in the finals 4 games to 1. The Kings demonstrated a strong will to win. In round one of the playoffs, they were down three games to none against a very good San Jose Sharks team. They became just the fourth team in NHL history to overcome these odds by winning four in a row to advance to the second round. In that round, they faced their bitter rivals from Anaheim, the Ducks, and were victorious in a difficult series. 

In the third round, the Western Conference championship, the Kings took on the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks. This series went to seven games, and the seventh game went to sudden-death overtime, before the Kings won to advance. In the Stanley Cup final, the Kings showed their resiliency by beating the Rangers in five games. Three of those games required overtime and of those, two actually went to double overtime, including the Kings' final victory!

If we looked only at this season, we could say that the Kings were good. However, if we look at the recent past, we might conclude that the Kings are very good, if not great. It was not just this year that the Kings were successful. In the previous two seasons, the Kings won the Stanley Cup (2012) and made the Western Conference championship round (2013). The "dynasty" word has begun to be used about them. There is a new statistical category, called the fenwick close percentage, which basically describes scoring chances. The Kings have led the NHL in fenwick percentage for the last three seasons, winning it all twice and losing in the semi-finals to the eventual champion.

The Kings are building something great, and all the pieces matter. They have only three unrestricted free agents, so the core of the team will be able to be kept together. The Kings are also a young team, and seem to have skill in developing young prospects within their system. Although they will probably not win the Stanley Cup every year, they are positioning themselves to be successful for many years to come. The Kings are building a legacy of success.

What can your church or ministry learn from the Kings?

1. Get good at what matters. 
There is a reason that teams who lead the league in fenwick close percentage have either won the Cup or come very close to winning the Cup. The stat describes scoring chances, and if you have more scoring chances than your opponent you will most often win the game. The Kings have led this category for three years. They have focused on what matters, on what gives them the best chance to win. 

What is the most important thing your church can do to be successful? If you don't know, how can you find out? How can you center your ministry's efforts around that one thing?

2. Build for the long-term. 
The Kings develop prospects within their system, sign them to long-term contracts, and keep them. This ensures a nucleus of good, skilled young players will grow together as a team. They will learn and understand the team's system while adopting the values and culture of the club.

How are you building for the long-term? Do you have a training system that you put people through? How could you develop such a system? (Read more on this topic HERE.)

3. Stay consistent.
The Kings are not known for making many moves. Their coach is about as low-key as you find. They are consistent and methodical. They have a plan. They focus on what they must do to succeed and they stick to that.

Does your church or ministry chase the latest fad or gimmick? Are you always looking for the "next big thing" or are you following a plan? Does your decision making process encourage change or consistency? How can you emphasize consistency?

Jeremy Hoover is the minister at the Otisville Church of Christ in Otisville, Michigan. His website is at He is an avid sports fan who enjoys biographies about athletes and books by coaches. His favorite sports are hockey, where he roots for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and football, where he pulls for the New England Patriots.

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