This week we will launch a new class, one I am excited to teach, about the basics of the Christian faith. In just three weeks we won't have time to delve into hard theological issues or debate the pros and cons of different views on the end times or scriptural interpretation...in fact, we wouldn't dare because this is a class on the basics of what we believe, not the minutia. Sometimes it is vital to go back to the basics. Some people are new to the faith and need to learn from scratch...others may have been around a while but need a refresher; but no matter the reason it's always good to go back and start over.
There is a famous story about Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers that is worth sharing on this topic.
It was July of 1961 and the 38 members of the Green Bay Packers football team were gathered together for the first day of training camp. The previous season had ended with a heartbreaking defeat when the Packers squandered a lead late in the 4th quarter and lost the NFL Championship to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Green Bay players had been thinking about this brutal loss for the entire off-season and now, finally, training camp had arrived and it was time to get to work. The players were eager to advance their game to the next level and start working on the details that would help them win a championship.
Their coach, Vince Lombardi, had a different idea. In his best-selling book, When Pride Still Mattered: A Life Of Vince Lombardi, author David Maraniss explains what happened when Lombardi walked into training camp in the summer of 1961. He took nothing for granted. He began a tradition of starting from scratch, assuming that the players were blank slates who carried over no knowledge from the year before… He began with the most elemental statement of all. “Gentlemen,” he said, holding a pigskin in his right hand, “this is a football.”
Lombardi was coaching a group of three dozen professional athletes who, just months prior, had come within minutes of winning the biggest prize their sport could offer. And yet, he started from the very beginning.
Lombardi's methodical coverage of the fundamentals continued throughout training camp. Each player reviewed how to block and tackle. They opened up the playbook and started from page one. At some point, Max McGee, the Packers’ Pro Bowl wide receiver, joked, “Uh, Coach, could you slow down a little? You're going too fast for us.” Lombardi reportedly cracked a smile, but continued his obsession with the basics all the same. His team would become the best in the league at the tasks everyone else took for granted.
Six months later, the Green Bay Packers beat the New York Giants 37-0 to win the NFL Championship.
So we are going back to the basics too. If you would like to join our class for this session (we hope to offer this class twice a year) please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP so we can get you on our list!
Six Points Church