Thursday, September 3, 2015

Next Man Up

Each summer NFL teams start training camp with 90 players on their roster. In 2015, the magic date for reducing that roster to 75 was 1 September.

On Thursday, 3 September, each team plays its final preseason game. Then on 5 September all clubs must reduce their active roster to 53 players.

It sounds so matter of fact, "reduce the roster". In reality many of those players cut will never play in an NFL game as their dreams of professional football evaporate. At the other end of the spectrum, veteran players hoping to get another year or two out of their aging body also find themselves confronting disappointment and frustration as they look for work or wait for other players to get injured throughout the year.

The harsh reality of player movement has hit home this week in western New York as fan favourite, Fred Jackson, was cut by the Buffalo Bills.

Jackson was with the Bills for 10 years. He was active in the community. He stands third on the list of Bills running backs for rushing attempts and rushing yards. He's also fifth among Bills receivers for number of receptions.

The Bills running back depth chart now includes one star, (LeSean McCoy) and three guys with 1,900 career rushing yards combined.

Despite their inexperience and lack of results to this point in their careers, these three running backs are expected to fill the gap left by Fred Jackson. If McCoy is ever injured, the team will depend on one or two of these guys to step up and perform as the starting running back.

Time will tell if the Bills made the right decision.

People leave churches for all sorts of reasons. Not all of them are negative. It can be as simple as a job relocation or a move closer to family members. When these people leave their absence often creates a void in the ministries of the church.

How do churches replace these people and maintain continuity in the church's ministry? Like football the answer is simply, "Next man/woman up."

When the audio visual guy leaves, we can't complain that the young replacement doesn't move the slides as quickly or adjust the mic levels as precisely. We need to give the new volunteer time to learn and grow into the role. We need to be thankful for their willingness to take on the role.

We also all need to develop awareness that a person or family leaving creates a void. It's easy to stand around and lament the departures, but the church never revolves around one person or family. It revolves around God.

Perhaps the next time someone leaves, that will be our cue to increase our involvement and be the Next Man Up exercising our gifts for the building up of the body. Or maybe it will be the cue for us to invest in another member to train and encourage them to fill that roll. However you respond, don't be part of the lamenting crowd. Be the Next Man Up.
There should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.      1 Corinthians 12:25-27

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