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Combine a week of youth ministry training, honest discussion about the effectiveness of even the best youth ministries, desperation for the Holy Spirit to move, and playoff season for the best professional sport in the world…and what do you get?

Another cheesy illustration.

But the fact remains, in youth ministry…or any ministry effort really. Heck, even in life in general. It’s really easy to start thinking we’re pretty good at things. We get an idea, even a divinely inspired idea…and “know” that it would be a success…so we move towards it.

In Hockey, most of you probably already know of the term “offsides”. It’s a term that’s called when a player moves towards the goal and crosses the blue line before the puck. When this happens, the whistle blows, play stops…and must begin again from a central starting point. The player with the puck must cross the line first.

In Ministry, and in life…so many times we have our eyes on the goal. We know that’s where we need to head….and so we move towards it. But lately many youth ministers, and people on a journey towards Christ in general…have noticed how often we’ve crossed that “blue line” towards the goal without the Spirit moving with us. We may sometimes ignore it…but “offsides” is called. We need to stop the play, and find a new starting point…asking that God would show us where He is moving us.

In hockey, the defensive players don’t have to wait for the puck to enter the zone to stand between the player and his goal. In the same respect, the things that try and stop us from moving towards our spiritual goals couldn’t care less if we move towards that goal without the Spirit. The goal wouldn’t happen.

I think this happens on a daily basis, if we were all honest. Maybe not on huge levels…but small personal ones at least. But once in a while, I think it can happen on a larger scale. I believe Ministry in general is in the season of figuring out a new starting point…asking God where He is moving. And I believe each of us can benefit from asking that in our own lives.

It takes humility. Whether in a ministry, or a job, a relationship, a family, a life, etc…that we’ve worked at for years….to stop and realize…we’ve relied too much on ourselves, and not enough on the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Humbling yes…but necessary. And freeing.

ps. recognizing that, as with any cheesy illustration, this one falls short. If you try, you’ll find things in it that don’t work….theologically. But as a hockey fan….I like it. So deal. 🙂



Husband, Father, Pastor, Missionary, Writer, Poet, Friend, reader, coffee enthusiast, hockey Wing-Nut, musical participator, etc...

3 thoughts on “offsides…

  1. you should call it a parable. then you have pretty much carte blanche to make whatever grevious theological errors you want as long as you come round to making one good point, hehehe.

  2. Off topic…so have you seen the hockey fan commercial about fantasy in the bedroom? Pretty funny. Chick is in the maid’s outfit, he comes in the doorway in Flyer’s goalie gear. :). “I thought you said fantasy?”

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