• Loren Richmond Jr

The Dallas Cowboys and American Churches

What do Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys have in common with many white American churches?

For those not sports fans, the Dallas Cowboys haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1995, almost a quarter-century ago.

Yet, despite being “America’s team” and owned by the flamboyant Jerry Jones, they’ve only managed 4 playoff wins since.

Well, what does that have to do with church? Let me tell you.

As this was written, Jerry is reportedly meeting with head coach Jason Garrett, who is under fire for another substandard performance by the team.

Since their last Super Bowl win, the Cowboys have had 5 head coaches, yet amazingly, Jerry seems to think yet another head coach will do the trick.

Now, in fairness, Jason Garret just may not be a good coach.

But, this reminds me of what a lot of churches do. Rather than looking at themselves as the potential problem, they, like Jerry Jones, think another pastor, a new face in the pulpit will solve all the problems.

And, like the Cowboys’ situation where Jerry Jones is the owner and has the final say over everything, churches often put their pastor in the same situation as Jason Garrett, ultimately responsible for the performance and success of the institution but lacking the power and authority to lead effectively.

The NFL is a great parallel for church. Look at all the teams that are consistently bad and you’ll see one recurring theme—bad leadership—whether in ownership or management.

And the response is often the same, bring in a new coach, hoping he can somehow be a magic bullet to fix a culture of losing that runs deeper than the coach.

Look at the teams that are consistently successful—New England, Pittsburgh, Seattle. They all have consistency in leadership.

Also, consider the Denver Broncos, a fairly successful franchise with 3 SB wins and 8 appearances, who since the death of owner Pat Bowlen have had 3 consecutive losing seasons after never having two consecutive losing seasons in during his tenure.

Churches, the biggest predictor of growth is the tenure of pastor.

The longer your pastor leads your church, the more likely your church is to grow.

Churches—in case you’ve missed it—you’re Jerry Jones in this analogy. Let your leaders lead and stop thinking that bringing in a new pastor every few years will be the magic bullet. At some point, Jerry’s got to look himself in the mirror and realize the one common denominator for all this losing has been himself. If only churches would do the same.

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