By Tommy Rush

Recently I was in the stands at the Natchitoches Central Football Game and got excited watching our Chiefs win their first game of the season. A parent told me after the game that he was surprised to see so much excitement from a pastor at a ballgame. I guess I’m just a pastor who enjoys winning, especially since my son-in-law is the coach of the football team. I was excited for both the coach and the team because I’ve been observing their hard work and commitment up close.

We joke a lot in my family about how much football coaches and pastors are alike. We both try to get things done with a few who are willing to sacrifice, while a crowd watches and shouts from the stands. Someone said, “Fans are a lot like footballs – you can’t know for sure which way they are going to bounce.” When the team is winning, everyone loves the coach. However, most coaches realize it’s a quick trip from the penthouse to the doghouse. There’s an old joke among coaches and pastors that it’s always good to have a backup vocation.

Football coaches and pastors sometimes hear a lot of advice and opinions on Mondays. One coach said if you want to give him advice, he would like for you to give it to him during the game when he has twenty-five seconds between plays. He doesn’t need it on Monday. He knows what to do on Monday after the game is over. It’s also true that both coaches and pastors need encouragement. Sometimes both vocations can be discouraging. One coach was having a bad year. It got so bad it affected his home life. He told his wife, “My dog is my only friend and a man needs at least two good friends.” His wife bought him another dog.

All jokes aside, most of the coaches and pastors that I know love what they do and feel a calling to do. I love being around coaches and pastors who pour their lives into building up young men and women and honoring God as they do it. Of course winning games helps! However, I’m convinced when the focus and goal is right, the winning will come! Yes, one day the final horn will sound.  We may very well be living in the two minute warning. So relax, run your plays, and honor Christ and you will always be a winning coach!