Growing up in South East Ohio I developed a deep love and passion for the Cleveland Browns. I became a fan at the age of 3 when I received for Christmas a Cleveland Browns uniform. I began following and understanding the team in the mid 90’s during the Bill Belichick and Vinny Testaverde era, right before the team moved to Baltimore. I remember watching one game in 93 or 94 following one of the Cowboys Super Bowl wins and thinking it was really cool that my team was playing the Cowboys. I remember the three years that I was without a team. I remember getting on the internet one of the first times and watching the live feeds of the construction progress of the new stadium. I remember going to the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame and seeing on a bill board the date of the Browns first game at Fawcett Stadium against the Dallas Cowboys. I remember watching that game, and being excited as they won the game in overtime. But that is, for the most part, where my good memories end.
Since their return in 1999 the Browns have had a winning season only twice, and made the playoffs only once. Every other year has been abysmal, leaving the fans and myself broken hearted. Every so often a regime change takes place. After the first two horrible years the Browns head coach, Chris Palmer was let go. Following him was Butch Davis. Some good happened under Butch, but after a crazy game against Cincinnati Butch had a psychological breakdown, and resigned from the position. Following him was the Savage/Crenel era, and the era was branded as “rebuilding.” They lasted three years, had one good season, but following a poor attempt last year, were let go. Now with a new coach and new GM the rebuilding is beginning again. So far, it does not look promising. My preseason prediction – the Browns have a chance against 3 teams, Kansas City, Oakland, and Detroit, but to be honest I think they may loose all three of them. Players are signing grievances with the players union against Coach Eric Mangini, and it is reported that players have stopped “playing” for him.
Why do I say all that on a blog where I comment about life and the Church? Because I believe the failures of the Browns are due to one reason and if the Church is not careful it too can fall to the same problem. I believe the heart of the Browns problems begin with the ownership of the team, and the “lack” of leadership. I do not know the Browns owner, and assume he is a great guy, but as an NFL owner, Randy Lerner stinks. I think it is time to change the Browns organization from the top down, starting with the owner. He is an owner that is known for not being very visible and not involved in the day to day operations of the team. Now I certainly do not want an owner like Jerry Jones, but someone who cares would be nice. Leadership is important.
Friends I believe the Church can face a similar situation. If the leadership is not right, if it is not strong, if it is only half into it, then the local Church is going to fail. Leadership means taking risks. Leadership means being involved. Leadership means taking action. Leadership means being on the cutting edge. This is especially important in the Church. If we are going to win people to Christ then we have to do whatever it takes to win them. But if we manage our team like the management of the Cleveland Browns at best we get a mediocre team that has a positive season every now and then. Friends, I believe the church is too important to let that happen. Lets stop being mediocre, and get busy winning souls to the Kingdom.