Kelvin Sampson chose these words to describe his feelings after being thrashed in Stillwater. Let me just say, there are not many who escape Gallagher-Iba unscathed. Away from home, the Cowboys were ambushed by the Red Raiders just a few days ago. This time the Cowboys played the part of the bully and beat up on the Sooners. I did not get to see the game – the score was frightening enough.
The description of the situation by Sampson left me thinking. Teams need to grow up?! Certainly. Anyone who has ever played a team sport understands it takes time to develop “chemistry.” And, it does not come simply by way of intense practices. Chemistry comes with repeated challenges – handling adversity and success in game environs. Still a young team, the Sooners will have time to grow up. I pray the armchair players don’t start talking about inserting recruits or alums after these two losses! Pardon the brief digression.
The illustration is important – those who come to gather as a local church too need time to develop and grow, to become. Often people approach a given congregation feeling it possesses all of the things desirable and has avoided anything undesirable. Illusions are usually exposed quickly. Seeking to fit in, understanding the particular environment and grasping the vision as understood by the church takes time – and patience.
Those words also came from Coach Sampson’s mouth – “I’m going to have to be patient.” Expectations often relegate pateince to some ancient discipline not often practiced. We would do well to develop patience in our excursions into community expressed in the life of the church. Sometimes our expectatoins represent preferential positions rather than healthy communal contributions. We long for a patient friend who takes the time and expends the energy to know “me” but often withhold a simliar expression when others need it.
To say a team needs to grow up is not a bad thing. To say a church needs to grow up is not a bad thing. Both Peter and Paul suggest the value of growing up in Christ!