In “Church Is a Team Sport”, Jim Putman takes his wrestling background and shows how important the “team” concept is in church ministry. As a Preacher’s Kid, Jim took off on his own tangent walking away from God, but God brought him back to Himself through Jim’s own pastoring father. After finishing his schooling, he began in youth ministry and developed a great youth group, because he spent time with them, loved them and took a keen interest in them individually and as a group. After eight years in a couple youth ministries that were growing, but the adult ministry was not, two couples from northern Idaho asked him to plant a church. He had no desire to plant a church, but through many obvious events, he returned to where he had roots from his college days.
His plan was simple. Focus on small groups that had a consistent system for growth. Coach the people to see they are the players, not the spectators. Help people see they can lead others and reproduce themselves through small groups. With coaches overseeing the small group leaders, those coaches provided weekly support and encouragement to the small group leaders. Those small group leaders looked to reproduce themselves in the people that were growing. As leaders grew, they were encouraged to serve and look to become disciple-making people themselves.
Jim’s sports background permeates the entire book. The reality is we are made to function on the Lord’s team in His body working together in the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Whether Jim discusses from the “locker room” to the “board room” or working with the same “playbook” he draws the reader into seeing how God can transform lives immediately, because it’s not based on religion, but authentic relationships in a safe environment of a small group. He certainly inspires you to want to become a champion disciple-maker.
If you want to continue only attending church and going about your business, I would suggest you not read the book. The principles are infectious and motivating for any background or ability to rise up and say, “I can do that [discipleship] (in His power).”