Imagine someone who knew nothing about football calling the first play of a game. What do you think the chances are that they call a “hail mary”? Just throw the ball as far down the field as possible and score, no problem! According to ESPN less than 10% of hail mary passes are successful. Those that were successful required highly complex defense, and an elite receiver and quarterback. Teams study tapes and practice relentlessly to make big plays. However, hail mary passes don’t win many games. What does? Playing the long game.
Willingness to take smaller gains to open up new opportunities. But what does it look like in ministry? If we’re making football analogies the “hail mary” could be presenting the gospel to a stranger hoping they’ll choose to repent and follow Jesus. For most, this is scary. Probably because we know that often it doesn’t end how we hoped and we may lose a relationship.
The long game is keeping our eyes open to the field, watching people and seeing opportunities, no matter how small, to show them Jesus. Taking a few yards at a time gets the ball down the field.
What does this have to do with discipling a generation of young people facing a growing cultural disdain for Christianity, an eroding sense of knowable truth and an endless number of distractions from reality?
I have no idea.
But the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob does. And I’ll keep playing the long game, trusting that He knows how the game ends.