I played soccer growing up. Right Wing. I wasn’t bad. Would practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays and then play the matches on Saturday Mornings. I was in a lift-club with many of my friends who also played. It was a good time in my life, I enjoyed it. Sometimes after we had run our laps, and done all of our up-downs, stretched and dribbling, we could have a sparring game, sometimes even under the big flood lights, which was fun. There is one night in particular that I remember… you see we all played for different teams, and this night I was on the B-Team, playing against our A-Team, which were the best 11 players from our age group. But this night was different…I was on fire. I scored 2 goals, in about 15 minutes, against the A-Team goalie, who was one of the best in our division. The A-Team players were yelling at each other, blaming each other, pointing, shouting, and criticizing each other. Then I scored again. WOW. What a great night – pure surge of adrenalin and excitement, pride and confidence. And then I remember distinctly, the A-Team Coach talking to the B-Team Coach asking “is this normal for him? Does he always play like this?” Although this happened probably almost 30 years ago, I still remember the B-Team Coach responding by saying: “Well he does score often, but I tonight is a little extraordinary.” I was crushed.
Its funny how we carry our wounds. Words especially. As I reflect on this, I realize that my coach was probably right. I did often score in games, but that night was an anomaly. I played better than I ever had. It may have been my best moment, I mean I do still remember it well. But I was never quite good enough… choice 12, when 11 were needed. I was always number 1 for the B-Team, always the Captain of the team… always playing on the B-Field, with the B-Crowd. But you know what – I think I am ok with that.
I know some exceptional people in ministry, and when I began this journey almost 20 years ago, I would rate myself much like those teams in soccer. How big was the church I was at? How many opportunities did I have to speak at ‘bigger’ events? What would it be my turn to be in the spotlight?
I’m almost 40 now, and I have come to a beautiful place of peace in my life. I am happily married, have 2 beautiful children and am able to pastor a church whose people I love and whose lives I care about. There are more prestigious roles, bigger cities, bigger churches, but I think I am content where I am. You see I am a B-Team Pastor.
Now I know what you’re thinking, ok lets give this boy a compliment in the comment box and say “no Sheldon, you are an A-Team Pastor” and I am REALLY NOT looking for that. Knowing oneself is often the best gift of all, and I am ABSOLUTELY content with being the Captain of the B-Team. There are classmates who have eclipsed me, who have gone on to bigger and better things – there are church that televise their pastors preaching, and I am fine, truly fine that I will never be that person. You see I have found that B-Team ministry fits me better – it is messier, which I love. It keeps me grounded, it helps me see that I am charged with a great task – of reaching those day-in-and-day-out that the A-Team has left behind. Those who do not fit in the upper echelon, those who are not about the ‘bigger and better’ – but are content with where they are. I am not saying that A-Team Pastors or Churches are doing something wrong, but I am able to reach people they can’t and vice versa – after all we are on the same side.
Are the rules different for the B-Team as they are the A-Team…NO. Do they play less or does winning have diminished meaning… Of course not! Play the best you can, be a member of whatever team you are called to play on… allow other’s success to be yours and do not let it steal your joy. Be happy where you are, be the best where you are…after all, Aren’t we all on the same side?